Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Right to Sing the Blues -- Southern Musicians and Photographer Jimmy Williams on the NY Times LENS Blog


Today's NY Times LENS blog features the work of Raleigh, NC-based photographer Jimmy Williams, especially his long-term project to photograph Blues musicians as part of the Music Maker Relief Foundation's efforts to preserve blues music by financially supporting older musicians.

Partnering with the Foundation, Williams has photographed a bunch of Blues musicians, most in their 70s and 80s, many of whom had never been photographed professionally.

In exchange for their time, Williams has granted the Foundation and the musicians unlimited use of the photos, while also sharing a percentage of his print sales with the Foundation.

Williams' work is a model of a photographic practice that seeks to reveal the dignity of its subjects.

Williams says, “Blues musicians are the very threads of American music.I try to photograph them in a way that elevates them on a level that I think of them.” 

Congratulations to the musicians, and to Williams -- these folks are getting recognition they all richly deserve.

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