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Documentary project


The Houston Blues Project

The Houston Blues Project is an on-going photographic, interview, and writing collaboration documenting local African-American blues culture thru the end of the twentieth century. The project began in 1995 when photographer James Fraher and writer/researcher Roger Wood first met at a blues symposium at Arkansas State University and initiated plans for fieldwork together in Houston.

Since the inception of the project, over seventy-five Houston blues musicians have posed for formal portraits by Fraher. During this same period, over one-hundred fifty hours of oral histories have been compiled by Wood.

Additional documentary performance photographs and environmental portraits have been made at numerous locations around the city, many of which were exhibited as part of Fotofest 2000 in Houston.

Among the highlights of the project were two special issues devoted exclusively to the Houston scene in the internationally-distributed Living Blues magazine. The first was published in January 1997, and the second in July 1998. Together the two special issues featured photographs, interviews, and profiles of over fifty local artists. Fraher contributed both magazine covers and the majority of other photographs, while Wood produced much of the written text and coordinated contributions by additional writers.

The Houston Blues Project culminated with the publication of a book, Down in Houston (University of Texas Press), that utilizes a combination of photography, oral history, socio-cultural analysis, and personal experience to document the late-twentieth-century legacy of the indigenous blues culture of the city.

Click here for more info or to purchase a copy of Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues
8 x 10 in., 380 pp., 120 duotone photos. ISBN 0-292-79159-3

For more information contact:

Roger Wood

James Fraher

All photos © 2000 James Fraher. All rights reserved.
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