artists>Rex Miller

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© Rex Miller

All the Blues Gone
Photographs by Rex Miller

All the Blues Gone returns to the roots of blues music in the Mississippi delta and builds an intimate portrait of a handful of characters whose lives are shaped by many of the same trials and tribulations blues musicians faced in the 20’s and 30’s. Through their words and Rex Miller’s photographs we share in the pain, oppression and loss they have experienced, as well as their strength and determination to turn these experiences into powerful musical expression.

Rex Miller’s photographic exhibition All the Blues Gone is part of a multimedia project that includes a book, CD soundtrack, documentary film, and a non-profit educational foundation. The result of a ten-year relationship with the people of the Mississippi delta, the project stemmed from a New York photo shoot with blues legend B.B. King. As Miller explains, “I expressed some interest in his background, and [King] suggested I go to Mississippi and see for myself. I was put in touch with Worth Long, a professor, Civil Rights worker and Smithsonian folklorist. [Long] was about to go to Mississippi, his car had just broken down, so he invited me along if I would drive. I left the next day, and we spent an incredible week together. He showed me his world.”

As described in the synopsis of the book All the Blues Gone: Music and Life in Mississippi by Rex Miller, “[these] magnificent photographs honor the vitality of Delta life – the cotton fields where blues began as hollers and chants; the porches where blues deepened in the cool of evenings; the juke joints where blues wail until morning; the infamous Parchman penitentiary, where blues live in fear and hard labor. All the Blues Gone is not a catalog of musical history. It is a glimpse into the culture and traditions that created this music, as seen through the lives of some of its practitioners.”

All the Blues Gone was exhibited at Through This Lens September 21 - October 16, 2007
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this page updated May 3, 2011
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