Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender

I have been scanning some old prints in my files. This one stood out.

The photo of the great folksinger Pete Seeger's banjo is from 2000, made on assignment.

Another photo I made of Pete from that session is here:

Monday, August 29, 2016

American Investigations. From the well of time | DC

I recently scanned these 35mm color transparencies that I made on the streets of Washington DC in 1987.

Flora Molton- DC street singer

I used to see and hear blind street singer Flora Molton regularly during the 1970's and 80's in downtown Washington DC.

She was born in Louisa County, Virginia in 1908, and began singing on Washington's streets in 1937 after her father became minister of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church. She passed away in 1990.

She played gospel music, and considered herself an evangelist, with a religious message. Her style, while not lyrically from the blues, sounded and felt a lot like the Piedmont blues. Later in life she was associated with other noted Piedmont players like John Jackson, Archie Edwards, Phil Wiggins, John Cephas, Big Chief Ellis, and Eleanor Ellis. She played at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and is featured on a number of recordings, but many of us experienced her music on the streets of DC, and tossed some change in her can in appreciation.

I made this picture of her near the old Woodward and Lothrop store in the summer of 1987.

Ms. Molton was the real deal. Sweet music, sweet memory.

You can hear her on Youtube here, and there is more detailed information on her here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Friends and family, Richmond VA.

Love and cheers to all.

Off the walls. Richmond, Virginia

On the street, Watermelon Festival. Richmond, Virginia


Crepe myrtle petals and watermelon art

Richmond, Virginia.

Mystery stuff.

Piedmont bluesman, Justin Golden

I recently encountered Piedmont blues musician, Justin Golden and his bandmate at the Richmond,  Virginia Watermelon Festival, in the Carytown neighborhood.

The man can play an old-school steel guitar with the best of them, and has a soulful, quietly persuasive singing style. It was terrific to hear a young local practitioner of this traditional Virginia and Carolinas music, carrying it forward. Old and contemporary, traditional numbers and new tunes of his own.

A couple of his performances can be heard on his Bandcamp site. Check 'em out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sunflowers in my garden

I have never grown sunflowers before.

These came from a packet of heirloom seeds that I got from a seed coop run by a college agriculture department in Appalachia.

They make me very happy.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Days of Awe/Yom Kippur | Circles Within Circles

I recently completed this new digital collage for the series "Circles Within Circles: Jewish Time Frames" a project done in collaboration with poet Sherri Waas Shunfenthal.

It marks the Jewish practice of humility, repentance, and reflection during the Days of Awe, the period leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

The components of the piece are: a chasidic fiddler I photographed outside the Old City of Jerusalem in 2014, roses, daisies, and some purple flower (pachysandra?) from my garden, a lotus blossom from the Aquatic Garden in DC, a friends eye (Mimi Xang Ho), eagle’s wings (nesharim in Hebrew), the Star of David I wear around my neck, a day-glo hamsa I adapted/altered, red thread from a beggar/shnorrer in Jerusalem, NASA photographs of the Earth and some galaxies, fire, a rainbow over Hawaii I made some years back, the words “kadosh kadosh kadosh” in Hebrew (tucked in amongst the daisies), waves in North Carolina from decades ago, a seagull I photographed in Istanbul two years ago, and another seascape. The stone background I photographed a couple of years back. I created the rainbow effect on the fiddler's black hat, also.