Author(s): Marc Myers
A visionary of the Greenwich Village nightlife scene in the '50s and 60s, photographer Robert James Campbell vigorously documented New York's jazz era and its metamorphosis into the beat and folk movements. Rebirth Of The Cool is the story of Robert James Campbell as reconstructed by Jessica Ferber. At the height of his photographic career Campbell captured the likes of John Coltrane, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Philly Joe Jones, Count Basie, Bud Powell, Richie Havens, Chuck Berry and more.
Robert James Campbell was born in New York City in 1936, but spent most of his childhood in Vermont and New Hampshire. He took up photography at a very young age, and music soon after. He spent time in the army in the 50s and as the proprietor of a coffeehouse featuring music and art before moving to New York in the early 60sand beginning his photography career in earnest. By the early 70s he had left New York for good, along with his career. Battling mental illness aggravated by his mother's death, and his own stroke, he began living in a homeless shelter in Burlington in 1995 where he passed away in 2002. Jessica Ferber was born and raised in New York. She has been the sole researcher and curator of Robert James Campbell's life and photography since her graduation from the University of Vermont in 2002. With a BFA in Sociology and Fine Art, she relocated to The Big Island of Hawaii in 2007 to run her own portrait photography company, Apropos Imagery. She now resides in Portland, Oregon, where she continues to promote Campbell's work."