Exhibition and book salute Randi Hultin’s photography

    The National Library of Norway announces an exhibition and book of the Norwegian journalist's evocative and historic jazz photography

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    Annette Peacock (left) and Radka Toneff, photographed by Randi Hultin

    The unique jazz photography of the Norwegian music journalist Randi Hultin (1926–2000) is prized among jazz followers. From the 1950s onwards Hultin, a dedicated jazz fan and formerly Norway correspondent for Jazz Journal, captured on camera numerous leading American and European musicians onstage and offstage in Norway and other parts of Europe.

    Her work is now held in the National Library of Norway, and the library has announced a book and exhibition, Randi Hultin – Pictures From A Life In Jazz, which provide a small glimpse of the Hultin collection. A large number of pictures have also been digitised and uploaded to the library’s online archives, available to the public.

    Eline Skaar Kleven, department director at the National Library of Norway said: “The photographs Randi Hultin left behind are a documentary treasure trove. They give us intimate, sometimes surprising, insights into everyday life in the world of jazz. We are delighted to be able to share this material with the public.”

    Through her work, Hultin became an institution in Norwegian jazz history. She invited jazz musicians to her home in Gartnerveien in the east of Oslo, welcoming such as Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Count Basie and John Coltrane for jam sessions and socialising. Her shots of musicians in social situations gave an unusual insight into people often only seen somewhat removed, on stage.

    The exhibition also contains some of Hultin’s many visitor books, while video and audio recordings provide an even more intimate perspective on life in Gartnerveien.

    Some 18 metres of shelves containing archive material left by Randi Hultin are now held in the library. There was only room in the book and exhibition for a small selection of her vast oeuvre, but the material so far digitised, amounting to several thousand photographs, can be viewed at nb.no. Among those depicted are Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Toots Thielemans, Eubie Blake and Kenny Barron. More pictures are being uploaded on an ongoing basis.

    The uploaded photographs are accompanied by the basic metadata recorded by Hultin herself in her negatives catalogues. In the coming years the National Library will enrich the captions with additional information.

    A YouTube video summarises the library’s Hultin project: