Guest Blogger Gary Goldberg: Texas Singers-Songwriters

The Idea

The idea for this exhibition began about seven years ago. I went to an event in Archer City, Texas, called “The Late Week Lazy Boy Supper Club,” a venue where Texas singer-songwriters present their music. I became a regular, drawn into the music, the lyrics, and the personalities of these “homegrown” musicians. About four years ago, it dawned on me that these musicians, whose work is not well known nationally, have stories to tell that are worth documenting. Their styles reminded me of music I had heard as a teenager growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s, when my brother Larry would play Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Leonard Cohen and Judy Collins. These musicians were also songwriters and their messages made a lasting impression on me. I decided to create a body of work that would leave its own impression on the music culture.

Jack Ingram © Gary Goldberg

The Exhibition

In this exhibition, I tried to document the singer-songwriter movement of “Americana Music” here in Texas. I began photographing those who had performed in Archer City, traveling all over the state to track them down. I also contacted individuals in the music business for advice on whom to include and settled on a list of 100 artists whose stories I wanted to record in pictures. There are many other fantastic musicians whom I was unable to photograph and some I’m sure I overlooked, but in the end I narrowed my photographs down to the fifty images that are in the exhibit.

Pat Green © Gary Goldberg

The Execution

I chose to make informal outdoor portraits of these artists. I wanted the viewer to be able to see the faces of these individuals clearly and to come to know something about these people by examining my photographs. I found compelling backgrounds with rich textures and complex structures that add depth and context to the direct frontal portraits. I used a Nikon D100 digital camera to capture these images. One thing I learned in this process is that musicians are a lot like vampires, “They only come out at night.” Thus, it proved challenging to photograph them in the daylight.

To print the exhibit, I chose Red River’s 60lb. Premium Matte.  Ten of the images were printed at 20″ x 30” using the 24″ x 36″ sheet size on an Epson 7600. These were matted and framed at 32″ x 40”.  Each of these large prints, a  was accompanied by a CD player playing the music of the subject of that photograph.

The other 40 prints were printed on the same 60lb. Premium Matte using the 13″ x 19” sheet size using an Epson 4800.  They were matted and framed to 20″ x 24″.

I have used Red River products almost exclusively since making the switch to a digital workflow. I have used the Premium Matte paper in part because of its heavy weight, but also for it’s smooth rendering of fine details. I really love the service of Red River, if I order by noon; I get the product the next day. This ability to get the product the next day has saved me from missing deadlines many times.

Becca Dalrymple © Gary Goldberg

I traveled all over Texas and shot more than 10,000 images working on this project. I am grateful to the musicians for their time and patience in contributing to this endeavor. I hope that the images of these musicians speak to you as their music speaks to me. I like music, I like Texas music, and I hope this exhibition moves you to explore Texas’ unique brand of “Americana“ music.
Junior Brown © Gary Goldberg
Gary Goldberg is professor of art at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. His work has been published in “Texas Monthly,” “Harpers Queen,” “The Family of Women,” “Exploring Color Photography,” and many other publications. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant and his work is in many collections, including the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. and The Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

Author: Red River Paper

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