Celebrate Black History Month at The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC with the photography of local notable, Patrick Hilaire. The exhibition Light [+Sound], on display from February 1-28, showcases 25 of Hilaire’s stunning black-and-white portraits of Jazz musicians.

The late Grammy-winning Jazz musician Roy Hargrove. Photo by Patrick Hilaire

“Each photo is so evocative,” says Iris Gallery curator Jeremy Moss, “Every portrait in this exhibition tells its own story. You can really sense how the performer in the photograph feels about their music.”

Hilaire’s life’s work has focused on capturing this relationship between images and sound. “He’s a purist,” says Moss, “His use of natural light makes his photographs so captivating.”

A Maplewood resident for 25 years, Hilaire is known as the man behind the camera at many Jazz happenings and has been a staple in the local music scene for years. Hilaire has photographed performers from SOPAC’s Jazz & Blues in the Loft series and Giants of Jazz as well as the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Band at the Blue Note in New York City. The Haitian-born self-taught photographer’s ability to capture compelling musical moments by great artists has brought him widespread acclaim. “Musical events are the intersection where the rhythm of the performer and photographer get to meet,” says Hilaire.

As an IT professional by day, capturing live performances creates the perfect balance. “It’s really moments that I try to capture, and those moments only happen once.”

A Jazz lover since childhood, Hilaire was first moved by the genre when his older brother Max Hilaire, also a noted photographer, brought home Herbie Mann’s The Glory of Love. Growing up, both sides of his family were involved in photography. In his teens, he shadowed his brother as he developed film and printed black-and-white images in their parents’ basement. Jazz from WRVR, a much-adored now-defunct Jazz radio station, played into the wee hours. “Great Jazz photography, especially album art photographed by the masters remains a constant inspiration,” he says.

Hilaire has exhibited at several galleries, was featured at the SouthNEXT Festival, and shot performances at the John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival as well as the South Mountain International Blues Festival.

A reception for Light [+Sound] will be held on Thursday, February 17 from 5-8PM. The Gallery is free and open from Monday-Saturday, noon – 6PM.