By José Luis Benavides
February 26, 2019—It is with great sadness that we learned about the passing of photographer Maxie Lee Floyd, Jr. last February 11. Floyd was born on January 12, 1934, in Temple, Texas. His family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended the 36thSt. Elementary, Foshay Jr. High, and Polytechnic High School. During that time, he developed a strong interest in football and track. After finishing high school, he attended Los Angeles City College and the University of Southern California. Floyd served in the United States Army as military police in Fort Lewis, Washington. He was a very successful salesman for the National Distribution Company and he was also president of Huckster International, an association of liquor salesmen.
Maxie Floyd was an award-winning photographer who began his career over 40 years ago. Self-taught, Floyd’s work has been exhibited at the Black Gallery, UCLA, Duke Ellington’s Centennial Celebration, The Museum of African American Art, William Grant Still Center, Mt. San Antonio College, the Queen Mary, and the art venues of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Floyd was a founding member and vice-president of The Jazz Photographers Association of Southern California. He received the Los Angeles Jazz Society Annual Tribute Award for his photographic work.
Floyd’s philosophy on photography was something he compared to the lone athlete running a race—one race at a time, one photograph at a time. He photographed, among others, international jazz luminaries Bo Diddley, Chuck Mangione, Flora Purim, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Michael Petrucianni, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Miles Davis, Gerald Wilson, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Lionel Hampton, Chick Corea.