Filmmaker Stephen Wilkes spotlights the life and work of photographer Jay Maisel in the documentary Jay Myself that world premiered at 2018 Doc NYC. Jay Myself will be released in theaters on July 31 in New York and August 16 in Los Angeles via Oscilloscope.
Acclaimed photographer Jay Maisel bought a six-story, 72-room building on the Bowery in 1966. Ever since, the site has served as his home, studio and repository for a breathtaking collection of items that inspires his photographic work. But now it must be emptied out following its sale in the largest private real estate deal in NYC history. As Maisel prepares for this monumental move, a true end of an era, he reflects on his life and work for the camera of his mentee, photographer and filmmaker Stephen Wilkes.
Who is Jay Maisel?
After studying painting and graphic design at Cooper Union and Yale, Jay Maisel began his career in photography in 1954. While his portfolio includes the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Miles Davis, he is perhaps best known for capturing the light, color, and gesture found in everyday life.
Some of his commercial accomplishments include five Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers, the first two covers of New York Magazine, the cover of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (the best-selling jazz album of all time), twelve years of advertising with United Technologies, and awards from such organizations as ICP, ASMP, ADC, PPA, and Cooper Union.
Since he stopped taking on commercial work in the late ’90s, Jay has continued to focus on his personal work. He has developed a reputation as a giving and inspiring teacher as a result of extensive lecturing and photography workshops throughout the country. He also continues to sell prints, which can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections.