Five years ago, photographer Jim Gavenus headed to the Waverly Community House to check out legendary bluesman Roy Book Binder, where he first connected with Dolores Hippler and Pat Harper, who, as PocoNotes, presented the show. Five years later, Gavenus’ photos and Book Binder’s music will be the featured attractions at the PocoNotes-presented “Faces and Voices of the Blues … Too” this Saturday, June 22, at the Tripp House in Scranton.
Gavenus said his approach to this year’s show is a bit different than the inaugural event.
“This is the second year that we’re doing this, and last year was strictly blues musicians, and a lot of it came from a trip that I made to Mississippi,” Gavenus said. “And this year I started thinking about it, and I couldn’t get away from the idea of how blues has influenced so many different types of music and diff musicians. The other thing I thought about is how great I think the local talent is right now in the area. So instead of just making it strictly blues, there will be plenty of that.”
The photographer said he might break the exhibit into separate themes for each room of the Tripp House, with local and regional artists – such as Cabinet, Miz, Ed Randazzo, Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk — having a room to themselves.
The Avett Brothers“Also included will be some of the more well-known people: Levon (Helm), Doc (Watson), Neil Young and some blues (people) — some people that are very familiar to everyone — and then there will be local and regional and some of these Americana guys, like Langhorne Slim and the Avett Brothers.”
The physical layout of the building — which is Lackawanna County’s oldest home – will have some influence on the exhibit as well.
“The tricky part with the Tripp House is that it’s broken up and divided,” Gavenus explained. “Usually, when you go into a gallery, there’s a flow to it, and you start and everyone weaves their way through in a certain path. That was another reason that I thought I could do one room for local and regional.
“One place I really liked last year was the sun room. It had a really nice vibe to it. I’m trying to figure out what to put here. Maybe it’s a little too sunny for the blues room,” he said, laughing.
New to this year’s “Faces and Voices of the Blues,” which will feature Book Binder’s concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, is a free photography clinic that Gavenus will conduct from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday.
“I was going to do it entirely about music photography, just because of the whole weekend, and I think I’m going to spend half the time on that,” he said. “It’s such a beautiful venue, I think I’m also going to incorporate some aspects of environmental portraiture. They go hand-in-hand anyway. If you’re photographing a band, it’s portraiture.”
Bob WeirGavenus said he’ll also talk a bit about “difficulties of stage lighting and etiquette — how to work with these people. There’s a certain way to do that that’s expected of you. The second half will be photographing in a more controlled environment, whether it’s a musician or a bride and groom or whatever.”
One of Gavenus’ favorite events to photograph is MerleFest, an annual Wilkesboro, N.C., event which, until his death last year, was hosted by Doc Watson in memory of his son Merle. Earlier this year, one of Gavenus’ photos of Doc Watson was featured during the Grammys telecast.
“It was extra meaningful because it was Doc, because he and I had become friends over the years,” Gavenus shared. “It would’ve been incredible no matter who it was. Because it was him, it was a little more special.”
For a complete list of “Faces and Voices of the Blues . . . Too” events and more info, visit www.poconotes.com.
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