UNC Press & New Orleans Museum of Art to Release Photography Book About Music Maker Artists!

inNewson December 6, 2018

Chapel Hill, N.C., October 8th, 2018 – Timothy Duffy has been photographing musicians throughout the Southeastern U.S. for over thirty years. His upcoming book, Blue Muse: Timothy Duffy’s Southern Photographs ($60, hardcover), features portraits of blues, jazz, gospel and folk musicians and places they live and perform. The artist’s monograph will be released on February 25th, 2019 and is published by the University of North Carolina Press in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art. Blue Muse will premiere as a solo exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art on April 25th, 2019 and run through July 28th, 2019. The exhibit, will feature the original wet plate collodion tintypes, and is comprised of thirty photographs from the book. In addition to the book and exhibit, a compilation album featuring the music of the artists featured will be released by Music Maker Relief Foundation. Duffy’s tintypes have been featured in the NY Times.


“Timothy Duffy, like many of the musicians his photographs portray, has the ability to meld past and present into a joyful, singular moment of timelessness. His images movingly convey the soul of his subjects and of the places in which they live.”

– Sally Mann

The raw intimacy of these portraits was achieved through Duffy’s work as founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit organization that sustains American musical traditions by directly supporting roots musicians. Founded in 1994, Music Maker is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with the release and premiere of Blue Muse. Inspired by his close personal relationships with these artists and love of traditional music, Blue Muse works to invoke a newfound reverence for those who have shaped an entire culture, giving a voice to those artists who have to often been rendered invisible by racism, sexism, and poverty.

“The artists photographed in this book represent the long tradition of American music. These men and women represent the breadth and depth of American identity by performing music from Native American, African American, and Southern Appalachian traditions. Their art speaks to the issues of gender, race, class, and culture that are as old as this country. It has been an honor and privilege, and one of the pleasures of my life to represent and elevate these marvelous artists and musicians.”

– Timothy Duffy


Tintype as a medium requires extensive knowledge of nineteenth century photographic techniques: the coating of the plates, exposure, and development all must be completed within a 15-minute timeframe. Using massive large format cameras and archaic chemistry that forges the image onto a piece of tin, Duffy’s process stands opposed to the speed and ease of modern digital photography.

“In our collective limited memory, the tintype tends to conjure images of Wild West cowboys, Civil War portraiture, and faces captured in traveling roadshows. Its old-fashioned nature might give the false impression that the people it depicts are of a bygone era too—or even that they have vanished altogether. Yet, the faces in these luminous and grace-giving portraits are very much a part of our weird modern world.”

         – Rebecca Bengal (Vogue, The Guardian)

About Timothy Duffy
Timothy Duffy, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 1963, has been recording and photographing traditional artists in the South since the age of 16, when he became interested in ethnomusicology. After earning a BA from Friends World College and MA from the Curriculum in Folklore at the UNC, Tim and his wife Denise founded Music Maker Relief Foundation. Duffy’s work is currently on display at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is part of the permanent collections of the The New Orleans Museum of Art, Morris Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Gallery of Art.

About Music Maker Relief Foundation
Music Maker Relief Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 1994 that supports the soul of America’s blues, gospel, and folk music through partnerships with senior, traditional artists. Music Maker ensures our cultural heritage is passed on to the next generation though live performances, exhibitions, documentation and youth engagement. They have received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council and the North Carolina Humanities Council.

About UNC Press
Founded in 1922, UNC Press is the oldest university press in the South and one of the oldest in the United States.

About New Orleans Museum of Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses more than 40,000 art objects encompassing 5,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum’s 46 galleries.

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