On Friday, November 6th, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is hosting an opening reception for “Still Life in Soul,” an exhibition of photographs of soul-music performers by Jacob Blickenstaff.
Blickenstaff, who’s based in New York and began the project four years ago, was taking portraits and performance shots — artists of soul’s ’60s and ’70s hey day, including Tami Lynn, Bettye LaVette, Otis Clay, and Eddie Floyd — at events such as the Ponderosa Stomp. Initially, Blickenstaff saw it as documenting music history but realized that wasn’t quite accurate when it came to these performers. “They’re still in the here and now,” he says. “They like to perform. They’re great at performing.”
Blickenstaff says that the subtext to the show is about the record labels, such as the revived Stax, and the festivals, including the Ponderosa Stomp and the Brooklyn Soul Festival, which continue to support these artists. “They’re making it possible,” he says. “They’re providing a bridge between generations, creating a small but growing environment for people to appreciate this music.” — Susan Ellis