He is a man of many talents: a legendary musician for decades; and a successful actor and designer. Photography has also been a part of his creative personality for a long time. In fact, Kravitz's first experiences in this field date back to his early childhood. The family home was not only full of music, but there was also the Leicaflex of his father, who had been a photojournalist for NBC news, before making a career as a film and television producer. Kravitz remembers, "I used to play with my dad's Leica camera, but had no idea how to use it. I was attracted to the camera and the design." Later on, another aspect of photographic art came into play. As a famous musician, he himself was always being photographed. "I made friends with the photographers and I would go into their darkroom or studio and watch them work. I thought it was magical.” It was photographers Mark Seliger and Jean-Baptiste Mondino, in particular, who were to become his most important mentors.
Despite being constantly in the limelight, the artist recognised quite early on that photography also represented a challenge. As his rockstar fame grew, there was virtually no place he could go without being accosted by the paparazzi, or trigger-happy fans with cameras. Freedom came with an inspired idea: to simply photograph them. With the publication of his first photo book, titled Flash, as well as numerous complementary exhibitions, Kravitz was finally acknowledged as a serious photographer in 2015.
With Drifter, Kravitz is now presenting a new chapter dedicated to his passion for photography. Once again, the artist is giving us a glimpse into his life. Yet this time, the repertoire of images is significantly more diverse, more intimate, and has more story narrative. Photographed exclusively in black and white, the work includes laconic snapshots, pictures of closely-observed street scenes, and perfectly composed portraits and still lifes. Just like a hotel room on tour can be a place for withdrawal, Kravitz also uses his camera as a familiar tool to reflect upon himself, his travels, and the situations he experiences with a diversity of people along the way. His spontaneity, complementing a talent for capturing the special moment, gives rise to images that seem timeless; yet they also reveal a lot about the photographic artist himself and his perceptions of the world.
Lenny Kravitz was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1964. Since he is a singer, songwriter and producer, music demands the largest portion of his creativity; yet acting, designing and photography are also important parts of his life and his diverse range of artistic interests. As a result, in 2015, he designed his first camera for Leica in memory of his father: the model was known as the "Correspondent". Following the Flash project, Kravitz is now presenting his second large exhibition, Drifter, which will go on tour to different locations around the world, after having its premiere at the Leica Galerie in Wetzlar.