Blue Muse

Timothy Duffy's Southern Photographs

By Timothy Duffy

Foreword by Russell Lord; Introduction by William Ferris

152 pp., 12 x 12, 60 color plates

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4826-2
    Published: March 2019
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-4827-9
    Published: January 2019
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5602-9
    Published: January 2019

Buy this Book

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit

Awards & distinctions

Second Place, 2019 International Photography Awards (Professional Book, People)

Gold, 2019 Prix de la Photographie (Book/Fine Art)

Bronze, 2019 Prix de la Photographie (Portraiture/Culture)

The tintype is rooted in more than 150 years of photographic method. In this collection of extraordinary portraits, Timothy Duffy brings new vitality to this old form, capturing powerful images of musicians who represent the roots of American music. These American blues, jazz, and folk artists are living expressions of a cultural legacy, made and remade by everyday people and passed down through generations. In the hands of the people in Duffy's portraits, centuries-old traditions find new expression in this digital millennium. Likewise, Duffy's photographic techniques fuse old forms and the original collodion wet plates with modern lighting. In this collaboration between photographer and artist, music and image meet around a history of struggle, adaptability, and creativity. It is this ethos that Duffy captures in his tintypes.

Some of the musicians in Duffy's photographs have found fame, but most have not. While the world finds inspiration in the grassroots creativity of these musicians, barriers of class, race, and place often keep them underacknowledged and obscured. But in these photographs, Duffy demands they be seen.

Published in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art

About the Authors

Timothy Duffy's photography is held in the permanent collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Morris Museum of Art, among other museums and institutions. With his wife, Denise, he is cofounder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
For more information about Timothy Duffy, visit the Author Page.

Russell Lord is the Freeman Family Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). His deepest area of expertise is the origins of photography, but Lord has written and lectured widely on almost every moment in the history of photography. His recent publications include: Looking Again: Photography at the New Orleans Museum of Art (2018), and Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument (2013). Much of his research focuses on the relationships between photography and other visual media

For more information about Russell Lord, visit the Author Page.

William Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris is coeditor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and author of several other books, including the informal trilogy The South in Color: A Visual Journal, The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, and Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues.
For more information about William Ferris, visit the Author Page.


"A stunning collection of tintypes."—No Depression

"Timothy Duffy, like many of the musicians his photographs portray, has the ability to meld past and present into a joyful, singular moment of timelessness. His images movingly convey the soul of his subjects and of the places in which they live."—Sally Mann

"From my first encounter with Timothy Duffy’s photographs in the early 1990s, what has struck me to my core is how his subjects speak through their eyes to your senses, using a timeless human language. That feeling never stops once you’ve seen the images. This collection is the finest of the fine."—Taj Mahal

"Beautiful, powerful, and unique photograph work."—Eric Lutz, Saint Louis Art Museum

"With gut-wrenching honesty and compassion, Timothy Duffy transcends himself in work that reveals his deep relationship to his subjects and their worlds. The collection of tintypes in Blue Muse deserves to be heralded as one of the great contributions to the history of photography."—Steven Albahari, Publisher, 21st Editions

Multimedia & Links