Sharon Jones, Ironing Board Sam, Music Maker Relief Foundation musicians photographed for NC State exhibit

Detail of "Sharon Jones, soul singer, Augusta, Ga., 2015." The photograph is part of the "Our Living Past" exhibit by by Timothy Duffy at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design in Raleigh. Duffy’s wet plate collodion prints bring attention to the traditional musicians of the South.Courtesy of Timothy Duffy

“Our Living Past,” a photo exhibit at NC State’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design, is a show seemingly from another era.

All of the pictures on display have been taken since 2013, and the subject matter is under-appreciated blues musicians — hotshot guitarist Cool John Ferguson, venerable Durham bluesman John Dee Holeman and the late Winston-Salem crooner Luther “Captain Luke” Mayer among them.

But the monochromatic images look like they could be a century old. That’s because Tim Duffy, president of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, made the portraits with the collodion wet plate process, a photographic technique that dates back to the Civil War.

“There were actually no pictures that look like this from the 1890s,” Duffy said. “I’m just reaching back to use an old technique. Photographing African-Americans with as much flash as I use makes for really dramatic pictures.”

About 20 of the photos will be on display for the next six months. An opening reception is May 17 with the Glorifying Vines Sisters, a group from Farmville who has benefited from the Music Maker foundation, performing.

Read the full story here


What: “Our Living Past: Photographs by Timothy Duffy”
When: On Display through Nov. 25. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. May 17 with artist talk and performance by Glorifying Vines Sisters.
Where: NC State’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design, 1903 Hillsborough St., Raleigh
Admission: free
Info: 919-515-3503 or

Music Maker Relief Foundation artists perform in Hillsborough


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