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Using A Polaroid Camera To Create A Musical Heritage Project

Over the past few years, I've brought my Polaroid cameras to various music festivals, where I've captured unique photographs that aren't typically associated with this type of medium. During this year's Blue Highway Festival in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, I had an intriguing idea: "How amazing would it be to create a one-of-a-kind image and have the artist hold it, see it, and sign it?" This concept would bring together the artist and the photographer, resulting in a unique piece of art dedicated to the rich heritage of music. When I say "one of a kind," I mean an image that can't be replicated endlessly. While it can be scanned and printed, it will never capture the same essence.

My objective is to capture thirty artists who have significantly contributed to the evolution of their music genre. So far, I've photographed six artists. The first was Ralph Stanley II, who signed his photograph on the back. When Dan Tyminski signed the front, I began having artists sign this way. I've already completed Ralph Stanley II, Dan Tyminski, Dudley Connell, Tim Stafford, and Ed Snodderly. I still need to have Larry Sparks hold and sign his photograph; I managed to catch him just before he went on stage, and he left immediately after finishing his set.

What I love about this project is how it allows the artist to be their selves; you tend to capture their personalities. I have noticed that once you point a traditional camera at someone, they tense up or go into a different persona. Once you pull a Polaroid camera out, people tend to be intrigued and more relaxed. It's more fun and informal, which makes this the perfect medium for this project.

Once I've finished this project, I plan to frame each of these photographs and organize an exhibition where people can view them up close. Ideally, I would like to display these in a museum permanently, so we will see what happens.

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