Acclaimed photographer and Music Maker Relief Foundation founder Timothy Duffy is releasing a new book of photography titled Blue Muse. The book explores the Southern blues tradition and the artists behind it through a series of tintype photographs, a 19th-century medium involving the application of photographic emulsions to thin sheets of metal. Blue Muse features stunning photographs of blues, jazz, gospel, and folk musicians like Taj Mahal, Robert Finley, Dom Flemons and Sharon Jones, to name a few.
“The artists photographed in this book represent the long tradition of American music. These men and women represent the breadth and depth of American identity by performing music from Native American, African American, and Southern Appalachian traditions,” Duffy says. “Their art speaks to the issues of gender, race, class, and culture that are as old as this country. It has been an honor and privilege, and one of the pleasures of my life to represent and elevate these marvelous artists and musicians.”
The book comes out March 28 through UNC Press, and includes an introduction by William Ferris and a foreword by Russell Lord. It will also be accompanied by an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art on April 25, right before the start of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival the following day.
Click through a few of Duffy’s Blue Muse portraits in the gallery above. You can hear a Flemons performance circa 2014 in the Paste player below.