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Posts Tagged ‘Madeleine Peyroux’

Dorothea Lange- 1936 Daughter of a Migrant Coal MinerI was looking at some of Dorothea Lange‘s classic Depression-era photos recently and came upon this image of a young woman. The label says it is from late 1936 and the young woman was the daughter of a migrant Tennessee coal miner living in a camp on the American River near Sacramento, California.  It is such a compelling image that you can almost feel the weariness and sorrow in her.  I find myself wondering whatever became of that girl, if she ever found happiness or contentment or at least shook off those weary blues that seem to be consuming her in the photo.

Lange had a real genius for extracting raw emotion from her photos–it’s so evident when you scan a page of her work where you can see the images together.  It’s obvious that she connected on a very personal level with her subjects, allowing them to expose themselves and their inner emotions within the trust they extended to her.  And with that trust Lange created photos that showed these folks honestly and with dignity, making  you care about these strangers from another era as much as she did in that moment.

That is an extraordinary gift.

Looking at this photo brings me to this week’s Sunday music.  I chose a cover of the old Hank Williams song Weary Blues but done by modern chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux in a more bluesy style.  You would think old Hank was looking at this photo when he wrote the chorus:

Weary blues from waitin’
Lord, I’ve been waitin’ so long
These blues have got me cryin’
Oh, sweet daddy please come home

Have a great day and hope you can use it to shake any weary blues you might have.

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Photo Courtesy of Jessica Braun

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Braun

It was a really nice time in Alexandria yesterday, doing my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery, an event we started doing in conjunction with the King Street Arts Festival twelve years ago.   Got to spend some time with Jessica, Pam and Clint at the gallery which is always a treat.  The actual talk, despite my normal pre-talk trepidations, went really well.  At least that’s what people tell me– I never trust my own judgement on those things.  But it was a full house with many familiar faces mixed with many new, a great group that made my job fairly easy, allowing me to be myself and be open and forthcoming.  Of course, in the aftermath, I  realized that I had missed several points and questions of my own  that I had wanted to address but that’s okay as the voids were filled with their questions.

Sometimes, these questions from the audience are the best part for me and probably for them, as well.  It is often the moist revealing part of the talk.  After talking about how my fifth-grade art teacher had been a big influence on my work, especially the Archaeology series,  a question came forward asking what advice I would now give to my fifth-grade self.  My response was that I would tell myself to believe that I had a voice that was unique, that I had something to say to the world.  I went on to talk about what finding this voice in art has meant to me, about how it empowered me and made me feel as though I had a role, a purpose in this world.

There’s more I could have added but that will have to wait until the next time.

The talk ended with the drawing for the painting and for several other gifts.  That is always a lot of fun for me and for the audience.  Well, at least the ones who win.  I tried to tell them how much this giving meant to me, how I was actually the one who was walking away with more than I came with.  That is absolutely true and for that I thank every one of those folks who chose to spend part of their Saturday with me at the Principle.  The inspiration you provide is worth more than I can ever give in return.

And, of course, to Michele and the crew at the Principle, so many thanks for everything they have given me through the years– friendship, encouragement and a place to let my voice speak freely.  It is more than appreciated.  So, for some  music, as is the norm on a Sunday morning here, I am sending out La Vie En Rose from Madeleine Peyroux.

Have a great Sunday…

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