Thursday, June 29, 2017

Timothy Duffy and the Blues

Durham, NC-based photographer Timothy Duffy (see images above and below) has recently been featured on the NY Times LENS blog for his tintype photographs of American Blues and Roots musicians.

The folks Duffy has photographed are musicians Duffy has met through his work over the past 25 years with the Music Maker Relief Foundation, an organization Duffy founded, in his words, "to preserve the musical traditions of the South."

The Music Maker Relief Foundation does this "by directly supporting the musicians who make [the music of the South], ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. 

By helping these musicians, "the foundation has also preserved the work of these musicians, who are the living history of American music’s foundation.

"Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions."

You can find a full list of musicians involved with Music Maker Relief Foundation here.

You can also schedule a performance by one of these musicians here. Or find out about a performance near you, here

One way to combine interests in music and photography might be to buy a copy of Duffy's new book BLUE, available through 21st Editions, here.

Each copy of this limited edition book includes 18 signed platinum prints as well as an original tintype wrapped in indigo silk.  The book is also signed by the artist, the publisher, the editor, and the artisans who created it. 

really a hand-held exhibition of almost 150 years of music history reflected in the faces, instruments and body language of the men and women in its pages." 

Porter goes on, "Turning the pages of “Blue” is to turn those of a history rarely told and one to which modern American music owes nearly every note"

Porter notes that Duffy is aware of issues his work brings up, since, Porter says, "Duffy said a lot of 'white outsiders' like him have visited or spent time with different cultures, but he believes if you look at their work “you can see the baggage that they bring in,” and the end result can feel like a caricature. 

Duffy "mused that he might have some elements of that too, but is aware of the danger and tries as much as possible to disappear from the process.

“How as an artist can I honor this experience and get people to feel and get a sense of what I look at?” Mr. Duffy said. “When I see them, this is what I see.” 

This is important work, worthy of your support, even if you don't happen to have the price of a copy of Duffy's book ($17,000 each).  

You can find out about how you can get involved in this effort to preserve and support the music of the American South, here.


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