North Beach to Brooklyn

I began working with the North Beach Jazz Festival in 1997 and for the first few years the image of the festival was shaped by a campaign featuring a neighborhood photo essay of sorts.  Using historic and cultural landmarks we wove a story into 3-5 distinct black and white photographs.  The postcards and posters remain stashed away in my garage and the original silver gelatin prints languish in archival boxes.  One of these original prints sold in 1999 recently turned up in an apartment in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn neighborhood 3,000 miles from North Beach.  I received a text message from Herve Ernest the co-founder of the North Beach Jazz Festival and artistic director for all of the early campaigns, with a photo of the print and a close-up of my signature.  I don’t know the entire story of this print, I’m sure I could find out the details if I wanted to, but that is not important.  In this digital world where very little lasts for more than a 24 hour news cycle it made me realize that creating art that lasts is why I got into this business.  I may even go back into the darkroom just to see what happens.

The image of Denzel, a five year old boy at the time was taken from inside the The Washington Square Inn with the view of Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and Washington Square Park out the window.  1999 was the fifth year of the festival and the tag line for the campaign was “NBJF turns 5”

1999 North Beach Jazz Festival poster by Scott Chernis

For more information about Scott Chernis Photography please visit


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