Immortalized in Imagery at the New Orleans Museum of Art

inTheir Adventureson March 14, 2019

Dr. Burt from Birmingham, AL was a dear friend and a great bluesman that only played house parties in and around his home. He was a Buddha like kind of man, his spirit soared, you felt like everything was alright in his presence. His mother was a friend of Coretta Scott King, Dr. Burt studied non-violence, and led civil rights marches in Detroit, where he was shot through his hand, making it tough for him to play guitar.

The first gig we got for him was at The Tasmanian Royal Botanical Gardens. Dr. Burt played between Keith Urban and John Fogerty.

Dr. Burt was a thin wisp of a man standing nearly 7 feet tall. When he walked out on that stage, the audience spontaneously started clapping, rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation before he even picked up his guitar. This became a regular phenomena, I witnessed this at Lincoln Center and stages throughout Europe.

In the short time he grew a devout following in Southern France, graffiti artists painted wall murals of his dignified face. On one trip he came back and called me excitedly, “Tim, I visited a museum in Montpellier, France and when I walked in the door, the curator told me to look up. I did and I saw the photograph you took of me on the ceiling, so whenever people come here they will always look up to me.”

Dr. Burt was so proud, I was deeply impressed on what this honor and recognition meant to him. I had always taken photographs for all the artists of Music Maker, gracing countless CD covers, three books, and posters, but I have never considered what it would mean for the artists to have their images hung in prestigious museums.

I soon bought a large format camera, and seriously refocused my attention to creative photography. I think often of Dr. Burt and what he meant to me and all who met him, in his peaceful humble manner, he inspired me to work harder to see how far I can go, no matter what the obstacles. Faith can move mountains, and now these venerable blues men and women will grace the walls at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

— Timothy Duffy

Learn more about our upcoming exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art 

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