Terry Cryer was an English jazz and blues photographer. He grew up in Leeds and his early experience was working for a film processing firm and then in the Army, producing identity cards. Later, he gained skills, particularly in the dark room, learning speed-printing as a photographer at Butlin’s Holiday Camps.
He began taking photos at a jazz club in Leeds where, in 1956, he met Louis Armstrong and then photographed Armstrong’s UK tour. American musicians had started coming regularly to Britain, and Cryer photographed bluesmen Jimmy Rushing and Muddy Waters, and the Eddie Condon and Count Basie bands. He sold the results to London publications, and after moving to London in 1957 began working for Jazz News, covering the flourishing Soho jazz scene.
Cryer then disappeared from the jazz world, joining Associated Press for a regular wage. His commercial work won awards and the admiration of his peers. His switch from skilled hack to artist came about through a chance remark by John Lennon: ‘If you’re ever any good, you’re always good. It’s always there. You’ve just got to find it.’ He further developed his technical skills as a master printer and exhibited widely.
The Terry Cryer Collection consists of photographs, programmes, correspondence and cuttings. Due to copyright restrictions, his digitised images cannot be viewed over the internet. These are indicated by the title of the image and the National Jazz Archive logo. However, they may be viewed at the Archive. To arrange a visit call 0208 502 4701, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form.