The Quotidian Billie Holiday

It’s easy for the rest of us to forget that famous people — actors, athletes, presidents or, in this case, an iconic jazz singer — are just people who happen to be famous.

“Jerry Dantzic: Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill,” a sleek coffee table book of photographs, many never seen before, is a reminder that between the fame and the infamy, normal life happens. 

As I write in my article for The Washington Post, Holiday is pictured walking into the club before a performance; putting on her makeup in front of a dressing room mirror; being licked on the cheek by her Chihuahua; holding her blond-haired godson in her arms; or leaning over a pan in her friend’s kitchen (left).

It's quotidian, as well as quintessential, Billie Holiday.

Dantzic was on assignment for Decca Records, most likely to shoot the cover of Decca's "The Blues Are Brewin' " album, for which, according to the log copied in the book, he earned $25.75.

About 100 of the nearly 400 other photographs taken during that shoot have been collected in this book by his son, Grayson Dantzic, who hadn't even known his father had photographed Holiday.

“What he needed to say, he said in the photos,” Dantzic said.

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