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Jan was an important elder statesman of music photography. Born 1943 in Copenhagen, he had been working as a photographer for over 50 years and his work has been used for more than 1000 album covers and has appeared in many more magazines, newspapers and on television all over the world for the last half a century.
He is a really important figure in the documenting of both rock and jazz in the last 50 years. He shot the Beatles, Dylan, Janis, Hendrix, Frank Zappa, the Stones, Leonard Cohen, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and so many, many more. But it doesn't stop there.
His jazz work is so legendary that the University of Aalborg acquired the whole collection for part of its Centre For Danish Jazz History and you can see his photos on album covers of everyone from Count Basie to John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. This is a special guy with a special talent.
His work often captures the iconic nature of many of the musicians, with an artistic, rather than pure documentary quality. The shots he takes are full of art and thought.
You'll know his work, because loads of classic rock images come courtesy of Jan's lens, whether it's the shot of Keith Richards in sunglasses, Dylan on stage or Frank Zappa reclining in an armchair having a smoke, you'll know them, but chances are, you won't have known who took them until now.
Still working into his late 60s and with exhibitions in LA, New York and his native Copenhagen under his belt, Jan was photographic royalty and when he presented me with a copy of his fantastic book of rock photographs, it was a huge honour. The fact that we have his shots to work on for t-shirt designs is every bit as fantastic. Sadly, he died of cancer in 2018 aged 75.