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Photography In ‘Blue Muse’ Is Music To The Eyes

The searing and beautiful portraits in the collection “Blue Muse: Timothy Duffy’s Southern Photographs” seem born of a bygone era. Indeed Duffy made his pictures using a Civil War-era technique called the wet plate tintype that limited his shoots to just one or two frames per day. But his subjects, or collaborators as he calls them, are accustomed to sweating under bright lights and performing for an audience. They are the blues, gospel and roots musicians Duffy has been recording his entire career.


In this collection, published as Duffy’s organization Music Maker Relief Foundation turns 25 years old, he captures musicians whose race and class has kept them out of privilege and turns their portraits into fine art that will hang in places of prestige. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Timothy Duffy about the book and its accompanying album and events, and about the musical legacy he has documented for posterity. Timothy Duffy speaks alongside William Ferris and The Glorifying Vines Sisters at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham on Wed., April 10 at 7 p.m. Music Maker’s Freight Train Blues free weekly concert series, co-sponsored by WUNC, begins in Carrboro on May 24. 

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Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.