Jim Taylor Photographs

Descriptive Summary

Jim Taylor Photographs
Jim Taylor Photograph Collection
45.0 Linear feet

Acknowledgements and Access

This collection was part of the BMRC Survey Initiative, 2009-2011. Status is pending. Check with BMRC staff for any future updates: bmrc@uchicago.edu

Biographical note

Jim Taylor’s interest in photography began in childhood. Growing up in Maywood, Illinois, Taylor always had a camera in hand. He was so devoted to his hobby that he built his own enlarger and darkroom. Upon graduation from high school in 1941, he enlisted in the armed services and was assigned to the racially segregated U.S. Army Air Corps as an aerial photographer. Although his regiment stayed in the United States for the duration of the war, Taylor’s service in the armed forces later allowed him to attended college. From 1947-1951, Taylor pursued a B.A. in photography from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design. Taylor was a member of the Southside Community Art Center, which was instrumental in establishing Taylor’s first studio, which he shared with two of his classmates, Ted Williams and Lacey Crawford. They formed a collective called Studio 402. While completing his degree, Taylor began working on small commercial projects for Chicago advertising firms, making enough money to pursue his interest in photographing jazz musicians and creating album covers for local artists like Phil Upchurch and Stan Bronstein. The notoriety he gained from his commercial work led to photojournalistic projects for Ebony and Downbeat. He served as official photographer of the Monterey Jazz Festival for fifteen years. In 1971, Taylor left studio work to help establish the Community Film Workshop of Chicago, which provides training in film and media production to people of color. As Chairman of the Board of Directors, Taylor developed the film curriculum, supervised artistic and administrative staff, served as a liaison between the organization and the film and television industries, and mentored many film artists. He also established himself as a film photographer, and worked on over 30 feature-length films and television movies.

Scope and Contents note

The Jim Taylor Photographs consist of work produced in most, if not all phases of Taylor’s career, though there is comparatively little representation of his work with the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. The collection includes photographic prints, film and glass plate negatives, slides, and original art work. The photographs include film stills, model portraiture, commercial work for books and magazines, photojournalism, jazz and popular musicians, and family snapshots. The collection lacks business records pertaining to work orders, and many individual images are unidentified.

Processing Information note

This collection was surveyed as part of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium's Survey Initiative on 2009 August 6 by Bergis Jules and Lisa Calahan.

Conditions Governing Access note

Access to this collection is restricted.

Indexed Terms