Art Kane was born Arthur Kanofsky, in New York City on April 9, 1925. Art developed a fascination with larger than life images at an early age when he would accompany his mother Pauline to the movies.
This fascination would lead him to a historic and influential photography career that spans many decades and genres.
Kane entered the Army during WWII, and joined a unit that included several other GI's who later became famous in their chosen fields like fashion designer Bill Blass, and abstract painter Ellsworth Kelly. Following the war, he returned to New York and attended Cooper Union. After graduating with honors, he took a job at Esquire magazine designing page layouts. He later moved on to become the youngest art director ever at Seventeen magazine. Even though he was awarded 14 medals & 24 awards of distinctive merit from the Art Director's Club of NY, he found himself dissatisfied with designing pages for other people’s photos. He realized it was time to become a photographer himself.
He studied photography with the brilliant and challenging Alexey Brodovitch, and began working as a freelance photographer. His first job was for the new art director at Esquire, Robert Benton, who decided to give him a chance on a jazz piece. In 1958, he shot a historic photo (referred to as the greatest photograph in the history of jazz) for the story The Golden Age of Jazz. Art Kane assembled 58 of the greatest names in jazz for a group portrait in Harlem for the historic shot.
In the 1960's and 70's, Art Kane took pictures of rock stars such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Cream, The Mothers of Invention, and The Who, for publications like Life, Look, and McCalls. From the late 50's through the early 90's he shot many innovative fashion spreads for Vogue, and Harpers Bazaar. He also took many celebrity portraits, and photos dealing with political themes and world travel. In the span of 36 years he received every important honor in his field. In 1984 he received the American Society of Magazine Photographers Lifetime Achievement Award, in 1988 he was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Art Directors Club of NY, and has been awarded the ASMP Photographer of the Year, the Newspaper Guild's Page One Award, and Cooper Union's Saint-Gaudens Medal for Distinguished Achievement.