Jay Maisel (born January 18, 1931, Brooklyn, New York) is an American photographer. His awards include the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Media Photographers, and the Infinity Award of the International Center of Photography. Maisel studied painting and graphic design at Manhattan's Cooper Union and at Yale University, and became a photographer in 1954.
After studying painting and graphic design at Cooper Union and Yale, Jay Maisel began his career in photography in 1954. While his portfolio includes the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Miles Davis, he is perhaps best known for capturing the light, color, and gesture found in every day life. This unique vision kept him busy for over 40 years shooting annual reports, magazine covers, jazz albums, advertising and more for an array of clients worldwide. Some of his commercial accomplishments include five Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers, the first two covers of New York Magazine, the cover of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (the best-selling jazz album of all time), twelve years of advertising with United Technologies, and a litany of awards from such organizations as ICP, ASMP, ADC, PPA, and Cooper Union.
Since he stopped taking on commercial work in the late ’90s, Jay has continued to focus on his personal work. He has developed a reputation as a giving and inspiring teacher as a result of extensive lecturing and photography workshops throughout the country. He also continues to sell prints, which can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections.
One of Maisel's most known images is his photograph of Miles Davis that appeared on the cover of Davis's album Kind of Blue. In 2009, Andy Baio created an image based on the original Kind of Blue album cover for the cover of a chiptune tribute album titled "Kind of Bloop". Attorneys representing Maisel demanded damages and that the resulting image be removed from the chiptune album, resulting in an out-of-court settlement of $32,500 from Baio.
Maisel lives with his family in the historic Germania Bank Building in lower Manhattan. Built in 1898, the 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) single-family mansion contains 72 rooms over six floors. Maisel purchased the building in 1966 for $102,000 when the neighborhood was in severe decline. The building's value estimated at $30 to $50 million in 2008. New York Magazine called it "maybe the greatest real-estate coup of all time.