Born in Cranston, Rhode Island, Deborah Feingold had early aspirations of a career in acting. She earned a degree in communications at Emerson College in Boston, while working part-time in a camera store to support herself.
Soon she found ways to use the power of photography as an interpersonal communications medium. She taught photo workshops at nursing homes and at schools for special needs children, and then won a grant to teach photography to juvenile offenders in a Boston prison. “My photography room was a 6’ x 6’ cell,” Deborah says. “I used Polaroid instant cameras in games and exercises to help them communicate with each other in a non-violent, non-aggressive manner while simultaneously encouraging them to explore their own vision.”
In the mid-70’s, through a close personal relationship with a jazz bassist, Deborah began to immerse herself in the jazz world. “Having spent many years hoping to inspire others, I had finally found my inspiration.” She moved to New York in the late 70’s and landed a part-time office job at Magnum, poring over by images by Cartier-Bresson, Kertesz, and other masters. “That was my photo education,” she says.
Assignments with small independent jazz labels followed. Artist House hired Deborah to photograph Chet Baker. That led to a spread in Musician magazine, which hired her as a staff photographer and gave her the opportunity to shoot music legends such as James Brown, Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Aerosmith, The Ramones and B.B. King.
Deborah also contributed music photography to the Village Voice, working under the great photojournalists Fred McDarrah and Sylvia Plachy whom she cites as major influences. She continued shooting musicians for album covers and portraits for Warner Music for the next two decades.
Deborah’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek and The New York Times, among many other publications. She has created over 100 memorable author portraits for book covers and has shot numerous ad campaigns for both print and television. Her work has been syndicated all over the world and is included in a number of music anthologies and private collections.
Her photographs are also featured in the book, “Jazz Cooks: Portraits and Recipes of the Greats.”