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Cotton Fields.

Photographs by Osamu Nagahama. Essay by Peter Barakan.
TWT Books, 2020. In English, Japanese. 80 pp., 9½x12".



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Publisher's Description

Where the blues was born – Osamu Nagahama’s “Cotton Fields.”

A commercial photographer since the 1960s, Osamu Nagahama decided, shortly before his 50th birthday, to capture the bluesmen and their lives. Nagahama travelled to the Cotton Belt in the south of the USA for five years (ten trips in total), met over 70 blues musicians, and captured their faces and their lives in more than 42,000 photos. His film photographs possess a full, warm depth, like music played from vinyl records, and approach their subject with the same unassuming frankness of the music they were inspired by.

Peter Barakan, a central figure of the Japanese music industry and a veteran blues aficionado, contributes a long, personal essay (in Japanese and English) of his experiences with blues music, and curated a soundtrack for the book (available via Spotify link within the book).

“Amid the poverty and the appalling prejudice that African Americans suffered, a musical culture was born there that has fed the whole field of popular music for over a hundred years. The photographs in this book offer a little taste of that culture.” (from Peter Barakan’s afterword)


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