Vintage Photography on Protrega Paper
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Museum Quality Silver Prints from the portfolio of Andrew Yale
 
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MEMPHIS BLUES

SOLD!
Mr. and Mrs. Booker White, Memphis, February 1977

Black and white silver print on Protrega paper
6x9" on 8x10 paper
Available: 2
Price: $650.00 USD


    Booker White, who lived around the corner from Furry, with his wife and grandchildren, was just as welcoming, if a little more reserved. He had a polished, affable dignity that you noticed first, on longer acquaintance you began to glimpse the powerful visionary presence that lay underneath.
     Beside being a consumate musician with a guitar style that no one else can duplicate, Booker White was an artist concerned with the bedrock questions that confront us all. He was at home playing breakdown dance music for a house party, but he also produced a string of existential masterpieces unlike anything else in the Delta Blues canon. His best known piece, "Fixing to Die", has been covered by numerous artists, but none of them capture the haunted quality of the 1940 original. 
    When he was rediscovered in the 1960s, after decades of obscurity, Chris Strachwitz at Arhoolie Records had the wisdom to allow Booker to record new material without time constraint. The resulting two albums of Sky Songs contain some of the most remarkable American music ever recorded.  
    I visited with Booker and Furry and a few other Memphis bluesmen, throughout the 70s. But I didn't begin to photograph in Memphis until 1977. Before that I lacked the technical skills to photograph in low light without a flash. I learned that at Franconia College, and when I graduated, headed to Memphis with my cameras and about three hundred dollars. I was there five weeks, living in the Hotel Tennessee for five bucks a night, and made most of the photos you see here in that time.
    The photos of Booker White were made at his home, ten days before his death from cancer, in February, 1977. I regret that I never photographed Booker in health, but I think these photos are important. Too often musicians - and bluesmen in particular- are presented as one dimensional culture heroes. What these photos make painfully clear is that they are human, and subject to the same elemental passages as the rest of us.

TO READ INTERVIEWS WITH BOOKER WHITE AND FURRY LEWIS, CLICK HERE:   SOUTHERN EXPOSURE
Mr. and Mrs. Booker White
$650.00