Lee Tanner began using a camera as a teenager in New York City. An avid jazz fan from the age of eight and inspired by the jazz photography of Gjon Mili, Bill Claxton, Herb Snitzer, and Herman Leonard, he turned to documenting the jazz scene with a love for the music comparable only to his creative drive for visual expression.
His career in science proceeded in parallel with the photography of jazz musicians for more than 40 years. Tanner scientific work involved frequent travel and he took every opportunity to capture the jazz scene on film in all the cities he visited in the U. S. and Europe. Downbeat was the first magazine to publish Tanner's work in 1958 and later his pictures appeared on the pages of many other journals including Rolling Stone, Jazz Magazine (Paris), Jazz Times, American Photo and Popular Photography. They also graced the jackets for LP and CD records produced by Atlantic, Sony/Columbia, Verve, Fantasy, Rhino and Prestige.
In 2006, Tanner received the Excellence in Photography Award from the Jazz Journalists Association. In 2010, he was presented with the prestigious Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary. The Lucie Awards are given annually to honor the work of master photographers.
Lee Tanner passed away in September 2013 at the age of 82. His daughter Lisa Tanner now curates his extensive archives. The photographs represented on Morrison Hotel Gallery's website are ALL hand signed by Lee, and represent some of the last hand signed prints. There are only one of each of these available.