Today we present candid images from my first year as a volunteer photographer for the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. [Sidenote: While we’re all hunkered down riding out SARS-CoV-2, a.k.a. the 2019 novel coronavirus, Mercury Photo Bureau will be bringing you a mix of stories on the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival old and new. We dedicate today’s story to the memories of Gordon Bradley “Brad” James Jr. (1966 – 2015) and Jimmy LaFave (1955 – 2017).] I was still learning to use my newly-acquired Leica digital rangefinder camera when I shot the 2012 festival from the audience. A year later I had shot numerous musical performances and festivals, so I was feeling much more confident as I documented the 2013 Woodyfest.
2013 was also my first year to camp at the festival. The campgrounds are located at the Okemah rodeo grounds. I was camped with a group of Woodyfest regulars who always set up under the trees near the campground entrance. They call themselves Band Camp and are just one of several clans to host a song-circle during the festival evenings.
As a volunteer I have access to various backstage areas that are off-limits to the general public. As you can imagine this presents many opportunities to capture people in unguarded moments. I hope you like the results.
About Chris J. Zähller
International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.