In January I began work on a project to document through studio portraits the musicians of New Orleans across every genre and style. As a lifelong music lover, I'm spoiled to live in a city that produces such a wide spectrum of music, and I believe all of it deserves attention. Although jazz, blues and R&B get the most press, there's also a rich culture of street music, rock and roll, bounce, hip hop, rap, folk, and brass band players, as well as experimental and electronic music. I want to shine a spotlight on the people who make this music, one portrait at a time.
This is a completely independent project which I'm currently funding myself with my income from the commercial photography work I do. For various considerations, I'm shooting this entire project on large format (4x5) film with a Calumet view camera, and medium format film with a Hasselblad. I am developing and hand printing each photo in the darkroom, with digital and Polaroid/Fuji instant shots for reference. I intend this not to be merely a gallery of snapshots, but a collection of handcrafted, expressive portraits that convey something of the personality of each artist.
Below is a selection of images from the project, a mix of negative scans, contact prints, digital reference and Fuji instant film tests (the digital shots are here as placeholders until I have time to develop the film). I've already begun planning for gallery shows and will eventually produce a book of the photos with accompanying text about each artist. Over the course of 2014 I will photograph over 100 artists, from well established veterans to emerging new talent, with more added as musicians themselves make suggestions. When completed, this will be an unparalleled document of a city's musical culture, and one which I believe will be of value for many years to come.
Delfeayo Marsalis, jazz producer and trombonist
Kristin Diable, singer/songwriter
Luke Winslow-King, singer/songwriter
Edward Anderson, jazz trumpeter
Alexandra Scott, singer/songwriter.
Jamie Bernstein, producer and musician
Robin Barnes, singer
DJ Soul Sister
Maggie Koerner, singer/songwriter
Meschiya Lake, singer
Sunpie Barnes, accordionist
Labels: film, music, New Orleans, nolamusicportrait