A Gallery For Fine Photography present twelve pigment prints, originally shot as a tintype, by contemporary artist Timothy Duffy.
“Southern literature and music have long defined the cultural landscape of the South. Today, they increasingly share that landscape with photography. My recent books Blue Muse and Hanging Tree Guitars and my new work in progress Sacred Soul is an opportunity to reflect on how the intersection of music and photography defines our region.
I am a folklorist, a musician, a photographer, and a producer, I view photography as an essential part of my work with Southern musicians. My goal is to both bring out the best in the musicians I work with and help protect their legacies. Photography and music- the visual and the aural- are inherently sympathetic worlds because they resonate with both our eye and our ear. Together, photographs and music harness the power of memory and sense of place in powerful ways. They work together to deepen our understanding of the American South and its musical roots.
Musicians and photographers are like sorcerers who conjure past moments and sounds to enrich the present. These photographs capture the emotional power of the musician.
My photographs transport us into the artists’ emotions and allow us to occupy their worlds. We enter an imaginative space where we can hear the sounds of survival from an ironing board, a one-strand guitar, or an unaccompanied voice as we travel through time. Images of deeply lined hands and faces hover in this timeless realm that might be this day of a century ago.
My photographs remind us that the porous membrane between the South’s past and its present- in which the past is never dead, not even the past is never dead, the past-is constantly shifting. We are defined by our past, and each generation is forced to relive its glories and its nightmares, photography allows us a new perspective as both we and the artists float within a liminal space and time.
The photography and music in my current work is a powerful reminder of how southern place and memory both hold and liberate us. Challenging us to look anew at music and photography with my exploration of Southern musical communities.”
For the past several years, Timothy Duffy (American, born 1963) has created one-of-a-kind direct positive tintype portraits of American musicians. Despite the importance of these musicians and the national legacy they represent, most remain little known. Duffy’s masterful photographs, shot with a large camera, big enough to hold the plates you see in this gallery, celebrate these important creators, custodians, purveyors, and performers of American music.
The process he uses, the tintype, an American innovation, dates back to the nineteenth century. It requires coating a metal plate with a wet, syrupy solution that holds light-sensitive chemicals. The plate must then be placed immediately in the camera and exposed to the subject before it dries completely. Much like the improvisational qualities of the music that his subjects play, the best tintypes often result from incidental effects of the process—drying too quickly, oversensitivity, slight ripples in the surface of the emulsion. Duffy welcomes these as flourishes or nuances that elevate the image beyond the realm of technical achievement. Working either in the studio with powerful lights that help speed up a typically long exposure time, or out in the field with his “wet-plate wagon” (a portable darkroom trailer that he pulls with his truck), Duffy creates powerful images of musicians who are the living expression of an important cultural legacy.
Fine art prints are available for purchase through A Gallery for Fine Photography in New Orleans, Louisiana.
May 5, 2022 – August 31, 2022
A Gallery for Fine Photography
New Orleans, LA