Photographer William Claxton, who worked with such entertainers as Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra and who helped establish the organization that runs the Grammy Awards, died Oct. 11 in Los Angeles of complications stemming from congestive heart failure. He was 80.
He was best known for his soulful portraits of jazz artists such as Chet Baker, and he went on to photograph Dylan and other musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Tom Jones. His images graced the covers of numerous albums.
Claxton, a founding member of The Recording Academy, started his photography career in 1952 while a student at UCLA.
He also worked with Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Rebecca De Mornay, and his photographs regularly appeared in such magazines as Life, Paris Match and Vogue.
In the 1960s, Claxton collaborated with his wife, fashion model Peggy Moffitt, to create a collection of iconic images featuring Rudi Gernreich’s fashion designs, including the famous topless bathing suit.
A film he directed from that era, “Basic Black,” is considered by many to be the first “fashion video” and is now part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Claxton also wrote 13 books and held dozens of exhibitions of his work around the world.
In 2003, he won the Lucie award for music photography at the International Photography Awards.
He is survived by his wife, Peggy Moffitt Claxton; a son and a sister.