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Our Living Past

Joe Seamons, Dom Flemons & Benjamin Hunter, American Roots Musicians, Durham, NC 2014.

Photographs by Timothy Duffy
May 17 – November 25, 2018

Photographer Timothy Duffy’s wet plate collodion prints bring attention to the traditional musicians of the South.  When Duffy began recording the music of folk and blues musicians for the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC Chapel Hill, he discovered many of them living in poverty, despite their significant contributions to American musical history.  This inspired Duffy to found the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping to sustain elderly musicians while preserving their music. The Foundation, based in Hillsborough, NC, has supported nearly four hundred artists by helping them pay for medicines, meet mortgage payments, buy new instruments, find gigs, and gain long-overdue recognition for their great contributions. Duffy’s wet plate photographic technique, which dates back to the mid-19th century, reveals the strong individual personalities that continue to keep the roots of American music alive.