I have ten photographs in the new issue of Yeti of the strange and wonderful microtonal instruments built by Harry Partch, and now housed at the Harry Partch Institute at Montclair State University. Also in the magazine is a transcription of an oral history by the late, great, Jim Dickinson, some real photo postcards from the collection of Luc Sante, and much, much, more. Yeti is available HERE, and at finer bookstores everywhere. In New York City, you can find it at Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers or at the St. Mark's Bookshop.
The reproductions in Yeti are in black and white, here's a few of them in beautiful living color:
All photographs: by Ted Barron © 2009.
I shot Sonic Youth for the cover of the summer issue of Signal To Noise, working again with Jesse Jarnow on a very thorough and thoughtful story about the band on the eve of their first release for Matador Records, The Eternal. We did the cover shoot here in Brooklyn, in the basement lounge of M. Shanghai Bistro (thank you May), and subsequently followed up in Hoboken at their rehearsal space, and in Northampton, Massachusetts at Kim and Thurston's house. The magazine (with a deluxe 8-page spread) is out now and on the stands - check it out.
Here's a few photographs that didn't make it into the magazine:
all photographs: © Ted Barron, 2009.
Here's a few of the photographs I made for Steve Earle for his new record, Townes, out now on New West Records. It's a tribute to his friend and teacher, Townes Van Zandt, featuring Steve's take on fifteen of TVZ's songs. We were blessed with some beautiful late winter light following the last snowfall of the season. We started the shoot in the courtyard behind Steve and Allison's apartment, and then moved to various locations on the streets of Greenwich Village.
All photos: © Ted Barron 2009.
In late February, I worked on a story with Jesse Jarnow for North Carolina's Indy Week, about the 50th anniversary of Thelonious Monk's Town Hall Concert. For the Anniversary, two concerts, featuring Charles Tolliver and Jason Moran, were held in conjunction with The Jazz Loft Project out of Duke University's Center For Documentary Studies, who are curating a museum exhibition and catalog of W. Eugene Smith's vast archive of photographs and thousands of hours of reel to reel tape recordings that he made while living at 821 Sixth Avenue, where Monk rehearsed (upstairs from him) at Hall Overton's loft for his Town Hall engagement.
It was like a strange archeological dig, when Jesse and I visited the loft, which is now a warehouse for a Chinese wig store downstairs.
I've long known about Smith's recordings and his obsession with documenting what went on at the building where he lived and worked from the late 50s until the early 70s. One story, which has stuck with me since I first heard it, was of Smith cutting a hole in his ceiling to insert a microphone through the floor of the upstairs loft while Monk was rehearsing for his 1959 concert. I talked with the owner of the building, Mr. Ho, and we gained access to the hallowed ground, now filled with boxes of Chinese imports.
We set out to find the hole. Here it is 50 years later:
You can see more photographs and read Jesse's story HERE.
all photos: © Ted Barron, 2009.
Truck on a Box on a Box on a Truck, New York City 2001.
There's a portfolio of my photographs in the new issue of Yeti. Go buy it. Buy two. You can get it at finer bookstores and magazine stands or order a copy directly from Yeti Publishing.
Chicken, Outside Death Valley, California. 2004.
Inside the book:
* SIC ALPS + EAT SKULL interview each other * THE CLEAN: a career-spanning interview with the legendary NZ pop band * VIVIAN GIRLS interviewed by Rob Simonsen * MUGSHOTS FROM 1920s AUSTRALIA: selected and introduced by archivist/author Peter Doyle * SUN CITY GIRLS: Lengthy, archival oral history (one of the very few times that the late, great Charles Gocher ever talked to a reporter) * TIM LAWRENCE on the neglected role of disco in NYC's '70s Downtown scene. * MINGERING MIKE: Eric Isaacson pays tribute to the self-taught visual artist about his newly unearthed a capella recordings * LUC SANTE: Folk Photography (incredible portfolio of hand-made postcards from the 1920s) * THOM BULLOCK: Andy Beta's hilarious & enthused interview with the roots-disco DJ, formerly of ARE Weapons and a dozen other groups * DAVID FAIR's paper-cut artwork * More!
On the CD:
Rare & unreleased tracks from: the Clean/the Great Unwashed (plus covers of Clean/ G.U. songs by Times New Viking & Crystal Stilts) * Megapuss (debut of Devendra Banhart's new band) * Sun City Girls * Frankie Rose's awesome noisy demo of the Vivian Girls' "Where Do You Run To") * Mingering Mike * Cause Co-Motion! * Eat Skull * Brothers Unconnected (Richard + Alan Bishop) * Collections of Colonies of Bees * Blank Dogs * Sad Horse * Dixon Brothers * Ilyas Ahmed * E*Rock & Mat Brinkman * Grass Widow * Way of the Ancients (Thom Bullock from Rub 'n' Tug doing a lengthy tribute to "Set Your Controls for the Heart of the Sun"!) & a few more.
Photographs: © 2008 Ted Barron
Columbus Day Parade, New York City, 1984.
click on image to enlarge
Here's an historical document. I made this photograph during the Columbus Day parade in 1984. A few days earlier, I had just gotten my first Leica - and high on the photographs of Garry Winogrand - I saw it as a licence to walk right into the street and make this photograph of the Democratic Party leading the parade. The power I felt with that little German camera, which I still use today, is remarkable. They are all there: Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro - front and center - flanked by Mario Cuomo, Ed Koch, Daniel Moynihan and a few others whose names escape me now. From the edges of the frame, you can see various members of the secret service having a coniption over the scraggly kid with a camera walking in front of all these politicians. They ushered me off and that was that. I'd hate to think of what would happen today, in our current semi-police state NYC. I imagine there might be some sort of detainment. I voted for all these people and this was the first Presidential election I participated in. Of course, you know the outcome, and below is a photograph made following election day. I was hopeful in that election, but young and idealistic. This time around I'm also hopeful, but I think it's gonna be different.
November To Remember, New York City, 1984.
click on image to enlarge
Photographs © Ted Barron, 2008.
3 AM Wednesday November 5, 2008 in Brooklyn
Photograph © 2008 Sean Hemmerle
Hosetruck, Mojave, California, 2007.
I have a new Lightjet print of the above photograph, from a series of California landscape photographs still in progress, in the inaugural exhibition at the Yes Gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The show runs through November 3, 2008.
Here's something that I am especially proud of. This photograph of Paul Westerberg and Alex Chilton, is prominently displayed in the booklet for the the new deluxe reissue of The Replacements Pleased To Meet Me on Rhino Records. Not only is this a seminal rock record, but it was an important one to me when it came out in 1987. I had long had a fascination with the music of Memphis, and at that time in particular, I was listening to a lot of Big Star and it's various affiliations. So, when my favorite current band, The Replacements made a record at Ardent in Memphis with Jim Dickinson, it was a revelation of sorts. Sometime in late 1987, I went to see Alex play a show at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. The Replacements were also in town and playing at the Beacon. At one point during the show, my friend nudged me and pointed to The Replacements who had shown up and were at the bar in the back of the room watching Alex's set after their show. Paul joined Alex on stage for an impromptu version of Ronnie and The Daytonas "Little GTO" I managed to get off a few pictures, and as far as I know, there are not any others of the two of them together from this time. I talked to photographer Stephanie Chernikowski, who introduced them to each other, and she doesn't have any. When I heard they were re-releasing all of their records with bonus material, I contacted Peter Jesperson, their former manager, and showed him these photographs, which have been sitting dormant and basically unseen for all these years. I feel lucky to have been there, and grateful to have contributed to this reissue.
"Alex Chilton" (alternate version) mp3
by The Replacements, 1987.
Buy: Pleased to Meet Me
Alex Chilton and Paul Westerberg, Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 1987.
© Ted Barron, 2008.
Someone informed me recently that I should be putting up tearsheets and published photographs from magazines and print media here. There's been a lot in the past year, and I'll update this when I find the time. In the meantime, here's a few posters. I went to see Laura play a Johnny Cash Tribute the other night at the Winter Garden downtown - she performed "The Beast In Me" and sang "Folsom Prison Blues" with John Doe. Afterwards, She gave me this handsome new poster that they had printed for some upcoming gigs. Below is a Steve Earle poster that New West made for Steve's tour last fall. I made this picture of it when I was walking in my neighborhood and found it by chance. I like to see my photographs on posters.
Last week, I got the chance to stretch out a little and do some writing for New York Magazine, when they dispatched myself and 27 others to cover what was happening in the music clubs around NYC on Saturday night. I went to Sunny's Bar in Red Hook to cover their weekly Bluegrass Hootenanny. It was a lot of fun. I'm grateful for the opportunity, since I've only recently started writing, mostly at my other blog. You can read the New York Magazine article here, and below see my unedited version with some additional photographs.
Did you ever wonder what Jimmie Rodgers' "California Blues" would sound like in Red Hook, Brooklyn to the tune of an accordian? It happened Saturday night at Sunny's, an unassuming bar at the edge of Red Hook. Not much pretension here. It felt more like bars I've known in smaller cities of the Hinterlands, or maybe Williamsburg circa 1990. Mostly locals and an occasional confused wanderer, not knowing what to make of the evening's entertainment. In the front room, Howlin' Wolf played on the stereo, while locals came in and drank mostly bottled beer. Every Saturday for the last five years, a ragtag collection of local pickers congregate in the back room of Sunny's Bar for an all night Hootenanny. The musicians range from accomplished veterans of the NYC Country/Folk scene to casual guitar strummers. There are no set lists, and the players who make up a good portion the audience, call out the tunes. "Dead Flowers" was played in tribute to the Kentucky Derby which took place earlier that day. I asked guitar player Izzy Landau if he was the ringleader of the event and he replied "No, I'm just the elder statesmen." Joining him were more than a dozen others on fiddle, mandolin, dobro, auto harp, harmonica, stand-up bass, and banjo who came and went as the evening wore on. There's a piano in the corner that some of the players moved to as needed. While some of the players carried the seriousness of Civil War re-enactors of American song, there was a refreshing absence of ego. The best stage banter of the evening was between musicians when one of them called out " How about "Midnight Moonlight" "In A ?"... "I play It in G " ... "That's what God made capos for!" About midnight things picked up. Mandolinist Fred Skellinger and guitarist Tom Feeley took things up a notch and moved into a more traditional hard-picking Bluegrass style. Somebody handed me a carton of malted milkballs that was making the rounds at the tables. "No thanks, I'm good." Just then the band kicked into Bill Monroe's "Rocky Road Blues" followed by a rousing version of Ernest Tubbs's "Thanks-A-Lot." At one point I found myself holding and picking a Banjo tentatively, at least I found the key. It was in G , of course.
all photographs © Ted Barron, 2008.
(click on photos to enlarge)
Here's the artwork for Laura's new record, Trains and Boats and Planes. It's a digital only release available through The Orchard in conjunction with Diesel Only Records. We had a lot of fun making these photographs while on the run at the at the railroad tracks in Long Island City and near La Guardia Airport in Astoria. Release date is April 15th.
For more info go to Laura's website.
click on images to enlarge
photos © Ted Barron, 2008.
design by Howard Forbes
This spring I had the pleasure of hanging out and making pictures at Electric Lady Studios for Steve Earle while he was recording Washington Square Serenade. Here's a look at the deluxe edition from New West Records which contains some of the photos we made there, as well as a DVD and liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis. When we turned on the photo lamps in the studio, the psychedelic mural that Jimi Hendrix commissioned for the studio came to life and Steve was excited by the prospect of making a portrait in front of this mural. When he saw the photograph, he likened it to a "psychedelic WPA photo." I think he's right and it's pretty cool as are many of the other photographs which I will post either here or at my homepage when I get around to updating and revamping that site. By the way, the record is great. It's a departure from his usual approach and was produced by Dust Brother John King.
all photos: © Ted Barron, 2007.
Steve Earle and Allison Moorer at Electric Lady Studios, NYC.