Belgian born, Jos Knaepen, commonly referred to as "The Jazzman," became interested in jazz at age 17, after purchasing his first LPs of Django Reinhart and Sidney Bechet in 1961. At age 18, he regularly attended the infamous Comblain La Tour where jazz giants performed during their European tours. It was during this period his interest in photography began; his professional career started in the early '70s.
Knaepen's photographic work continued during the early 1980s. His award-winning action photos were exhibited regularly throughout Belgium. By 1985, his professional career took a hiatus until 1990 when he began again, this time focusing strictly on jazz; the great love of his life.
Jos is routinely commissioned to exhibit his photography at cultural events, such as the Flemish Center for Jazz and the Blue Note Jazz Festival. This year, he will exhibit his repertoire at the Antwerp Photo Museum. He is also the official photographer for the Blue Note and Middelheim Jazz Festivals.
Gaining quite a reputation in the U.S., his photography is commonplace in Down Beat and Jazz Times magazines. Impressed with his art, the IAJE director of education invited Jos to cover their 2007 New York events...and the Smithsonian Institute used his photography to illustrate their special anniversary feature on Wynton Marsalis. His photos have also donned posters for Carnegie Hall.
Traveling the globe, Jos Knaepen can be seen capturing a moment in time, for where there is jazz, there he will be. With an eye for perfection, his photography is a thing of beauty. How does he do it? "To me, the most important thing is to hold that special moment when everything on stage is in balance--when the musician is in total harmony with himself and his fellow musicians. One can feel it, see it--the goose-bump moment!"