Lifting Angels From the Snow: ND’s Photos of the Year
This year has been a stellar year not just for roots music, but also for performance photography. After reviewing other publications, I say, without hesitation, that you will not find a wider, deeper, or more invigorating collection of photographs of any genre than those right here at No Depression.
I have the good fortune to not only interact with many fine photographers at festivals and other venues, but to work with the photographers whose work you see in this column. All of them, and I do mean all, continue to share their best photos, have shown great patience when I have screwed up, and have extended me many kindnesses. I am extremely grateful.
My greatest joy doing this coulmn is sharing many photos that I wish I had taken, or at least had the opportunity to have taken. I hope the enthusiasm I feel results in you saying, “Wow, I wish I could have seen that show.”
I estimate that the ND photographers collectively caught at least 2,000 performances, ranging from Sweden to Australia. After sifting through them I see not just the great diversity that roots music holds, but also sides of certain artists not often seen. Catching those moments, a certain glance, a look, is what we photographers cherish.
Nowhere are those moments more aptly caught than from ND’s two most photographed artists of the year: Lydia Loveless and Lillie Mae.
Following her stunning debut album, Lillie Mae seemed to be everywhere. This resulted in six ND photographers seeing her at seven different venues. Also included were some informal portrait shots.
Not too far behind them were Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, sisters who are substantial enough to top any billing when they joined forces. That duo resulted in some memorable photographs, especially by Brenda Rosser in both Nashville and Atlanta.
Thanks to the ND photographers across the globe: Kirk Stauffer, Peter Dervin, Todd Gunsher, C Elliott, Chad Cochran, Steve Mack, Carol Graham, Brenda Rosser, Jill Kettles, Michelle Stancil, Chris Griffy, Mark J. Smith, Steve Ford, Marie Swartz, and Pierre Eriksson. They are an exceptional bunch.
Remember making snow angels? They soon disappeared. A memorable photograph does not – it’s like lifting that angel out of the snow.
Now, let’s get to those angels, from legends such as Mavis Staples, Tom Rush, Emmylou Harris, Eric Anderson, Nick Cave, Taj Mahal, John Prine, Keb’ Mo’, and Laurie Lewis to new artists such as Aaron Lee Tasjan, Sierra Hull, Aldous Harding, Molly Tuttle, Lukas Nelson, Angaleena Presley, Margo Price, Rhiannon Giddens, and many more.