Charles Stewart (May 21, 1927 – January 20, 2017) was an American photographer best known for his portraits of jazz singers and musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis, as well as artists in the R&B and salsa genres. Stewart’s photographs have graced more than 2,000 album covers.
Stewart was born in Henrietta, Texas on May 21, 1927, and grew up in Tucson, Arizona. His father, Hugh Paris Stewart, was a chef while his mother, Anne Harris, was a domestic worker. He received a Kodak Brownie camera as a present when he was 13 years old and used it that same day to take photos of Marian Anderson, who had come to visit his school. After they were developed, he was able to sell his photos for two dollars, making him a professional photographer from his first day he took pictures. He attended Ohio University as a photography major, one of the only two universities in the United States that offered the program at the collegiate level and the only one that would then accept African American students. He would graduate in 1949. He was drafted into Army and worked as a military photographer, photographing atomic bomb tests in 1952.