On Sunday I had the pleasure of helping a friend of a friend hang a show of photographs at Soho Photo Gallery. Yes, the same place I had my show back in October. The photographer, Peter Leitch, is also a very accomplished Jazz guitarist. He plays a regular gig Sunday nights at a restaurant in Soho called Walker’s. Peter has a darkroom in the same building that I do my photo work. He is just down the hall and I was introduced to him by my friend Dwight, a jazz fan who has heard him play many times and who is also the proprietor of the darkroom space I use.
The photos I had the pleasure of previewing come from a long tradition of black and white documentary photography. As I looked at the prints on the wall echoes of Robert Frank, Walker Evans, and a host of mid century documentary photographers could be felt.
The exhibit stems from ” an attempt to visually retrace the journey of American Music – Jazz and Blues – from New Orleans to New York”. Actually the show goes from New York to New Orleans (just a minor kvetch). The photos do not actually show music or musicians rather it documents the environment in which the music came from; the verticality and hustle of New York City leading to Be Bop and the open space and white attitudes of the south leading to the repetitive and persevering patterns of the Blues. “The photographs show us a document of the topography, architecture and social landscape of these regions”.
The black and white prints are very well done. Peter is a highly accomplished printer and it is a pleasure to see silver prints on the wall in stark contrast to a lot of the work being shown on the lower level of the gallery. Not that the other images are not good. It’s that Peter’s work is very accomplished. He knows where he has been where he comes from. Vision, craft and experience combine to make for an overall excellent show. The show runs from July 7 to August 8 with an opening tomorrow night at 6:ooPM at Soho Photo gallery (15 White Street, NYC).