REMEMBERING STREET MUSICIANS
Since the current pandemic put a serious damper on my travel and photography adventures, I’ve resorted to mining my large photo archives (>80K images). While reviewing my archives, I’ve realized that I have a significant collection of street musician images. These were accumulated over many years of travel, more as incidental as opposed to planned intentional captures, many with a simple pocket point and shoot cameras. The musicians made a conscious or subconscious impact on me so as to capture and save the images. They gave me a sense and mood of the places that I was visiting then and now brought back some forgotten memories.
So I’ve decided to make a collection of some of my favorite images of street musicians. The musicians were using a variety of instruments ranging from an upside down empty paint can being used as a percussion instrument to a harp and upright piano, as well as some to me unknown instruments. But of course also my personal favorite, the sax. It became apparent that it would be necessary for me to make two separate collections. One collection would contain images of musicians across the USA (with the exception of New Orleans, NOLA) and abroad, including Prague (my birth city), Chicago (where I grew up), New York City, Dublin, Paris etc. The second collection would be necessary to include images from NOLA which is identified with street musicians and music (as well as food, drinks, and “le bon temps”, in general). One couldn’t do justice to street musician genre without a separate tribute to the NOLA scene. One couldn't take a few steps in the French Quarter or Jackson Square in N’awlins without tripping over a street musician.
Street musicians are primarily found in the tourist areas since they to a large extent and even perhaps entirely rely on the tourists for donations and/or money from sales of their home made CDs. However, as the tourist flow has dwindled to almost nothing during the pandemic, street musicians are severely affected along with the travel, entertainment, and restaurant industries. Without an audience, they too have disappeared from the view. The tourist areas are empty and silent. Nowadays viewing a live webcam of the French Quarter, it's very strange and surreal seeing the empty streets.
We hope that this pandemic gets under control soon and the street musicians and their music return and help the good times roll again.
Stay healthy and happy!
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