Leigh, Jack, 1948-2004
|Title: ||Jack Leigh collection|
|Dates: ||Bulk, 1980-2004|
200.0 Linear feet
(187 boxes and 13 oversized folders)
|Coll. Number: ||ms3412|
Jack Leigh was a photographer from Savannah, Georgia. He began his professional career in photography in 1972 after graduating from the University of Georgia. His photographic objective was always to seek out and record the people, environments, and rapidly passing lifestyles of his native region, the American South. He went on to author six highly acclaimed photographic books:
Oystering: A Way of Life (foreword by James Dickey, 1983),
The Ogeechee: A River and Its People (1986),
Nets and Doors: Shrimping in Southern Waters (1989),
Seaport: A Waterfront at Work (1996),
The Land I'm Bound To (foreword by Pat Conroy, 2000), and
Ossabaw: Evocations of an Island (with James Kilgo and Alan Campbell, 2004). His photographs have been exhibited widely throughout the country and abroad. Leigh is best known for his photograph entitled "Midnight" which appeared on the cover of the book,
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994), by John Berendt. Shortly after the publication of this book Leigh opened a photograph gallery in Savannah which showcased not only his work but also other artists who either trained or apprenticed with him. The gallery closed in 2008.
Jack Leigh was born on November 8, 1948 in Savannah, Georgia, and began his work in photography in 1972 following formal studies at the University of Georgia. He later studied with George Tice, Eva Rubinstein, and Jill Freedman. From the beginning of his career his objective was to seek out and record the people, environments, and rapidly passing lifestyles of his native region - the American South.
Leigh's award-winning photographs are in numerous private and corporate collections. His work has appeared in museums and gallery exhibitions, magazines and newspapers across the country and abroad. He was the author of six highly acclaimed books of photography - Oystering: A Way of Life; The Ogeechee: A River and It's People; Nets & Doors: Shrimping In Southern Waters; Seaport: A Waterfront At Work; The Land I'm Bound To, and Ossabaw: Evocations of an Island (a collaboration with painter Alan Campbell and author James Kilgo).
In 1993 Leigh was commissioned to create a photograph for the book cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. The book became an international best seller and the photograph is Leigh's most famous and widely recognized image.
Jack Leigh passed away in May of 2004 after a battle with colon cancer.
Scope and Content Note
The Jack Leigh collection contains an array of material covering both Leigh's personal and professional life. The collection includes photographs, negatives, slides, audio tapes, video tapes, journals, notebooks, appointment books, schedules, letters, printed material, correspondence/subject files, material relating to his published books, financial papers, legal documents, medical and insurance papers, and other items.
The professional photographs include work prints, contact prints, and fine art prints. Subjects range from Southern landscapes, coastal scenes, rural and agricultural scenes and interiors to people in family groups, social gatherings, and in various recreational and occupational activities. Many of the images are ones that were used in his published books. The negatives include 35mm, 4x5, and medium format and are arranged by date (in most cases the first 2 digits of the negative number indicate the year it was made). Papers relating to his books include research material, notes, drafts, proofs, correspondence, photographs, promotional material, reviews, and other items. The legal material in the collection includes papers concerning his litigation with Warner Brothers as well as a few other copyright infringement cases. Personal material in the collection includes letters, photographs, journals, notebooks, printed matter, and some of his parents papers which include letters, albums, scrapbooks, diaries, writings, and genealogical material.
A few points should be made regarding the arrangement of the collection. Since original order has been kept as much as possible and since Leigh's personal and professional lives were closely related, it was not always practical to keep all of one type of material in the same place. Also, several boxes of material were received at a later date and most of this had to be added at the end of the collection. Thus, the researcher is encouraged to survey the entirety of both box and folder inventories when looking for a specific item or type of material. For instance, when searching for letters and correspondence the personal (Boxes 10-15) should be searched as well as the correspondence/subject files (Boxes 37-44 & 168).
Preferred Citation note
Jack Leigh collection, ms 3412, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.
Conditions Governing Access note
Reproductions are prohibited without the permission of the estate. Journals from 1991 to 2004 are restricted until 2029.