Jini Dellaccio is the most famous photographer you’ve never heard of.
At 94 years of age, she’s still going strong. How can I sum up a long career in a few words?
Briefly, Jini began her career in the 1930s as a musician in an all-girl jazz band. She later worked in commercial art in Chicago. In the 1950s, she turned to photography. She moved to California and launched a career as a fashion photographer – in a time when very few women worked in that field.
When she moved to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1960s, the modeling shoots dried up; however, she soon found gigs shooting rock ‘n’ roll sessions with rising musicians. Her client list includes The Wailers, The Sonics, The Who, The Yardbirds, and Neil Young. Jini stopped working for over a decade to care for her ailing husband. Now a widow, she’s dusted off her camera again and has turned to nature photography.
She’s a hidden gem of her time and has a sense of style that transcends time and genres; from fashion to nature, each photo tells a story. Jini herself is a style icon. She has poise and grace that simply can’t be taught. When people think of influential 20th century artists, Jini should be at the top of their lists.
I bought Jini’s book, Rock&Roll: Jini Dellaccio and I highly recommend it. It’s a limited-edition, slender, soft-cover coffee table book with 30 iconic images. It’s a mere fraction of the work she’s created over the past 60 years, but it’s worth it. You can order it from Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers.
For more information about Jini and her amazing life and work, checkout her website.
You’ll find a great interview about her on the Hasselblad camera site too.
Here’s an interview transcript from KUOW 94.9FM.
And here’s the original Evening Magazine interview where I found out about Jini.
The people at Five Star Films are in the middle of making a documentary about Jini. I don’t know when it will be released, but you can follow their production blog and learn more.
Everyone needs to know about Jini Dellaccio!