Billie Holiday by Carl Van Vechten

In March of 1949—not sure of the day—Billie Holiday showed up for a photo shoot at Carl Van Vechten’s. She was told to wear a gown, but wore a grey dress. Her mood, we are told, was also grey. Van Vechten tried to coax her into some other clothes, but things were not going well until he showed her photos he had taken of Bessie Smith. Billie Holiday stared at them until she began to cry. After that she felt better, and he took photos of her all through the night until the next morning. These are some of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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