blog

November 25, 2017

Busking Trio

Baltimore, MD performers, The Shroom Pickers, busking through downtown Asheville in mid-Autumn 2017.

The Shroom Pickers

The Shroom Pickers

All images © Joe Longobardi. All Rights Reserved.
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The City

November 1, 2015

Woman Song

Revisiting some of my old black and white negatives of scenes from downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

These women were performing outside Greenlife Groceries just off of Merrimon Avenue in Asheville.
From 2007, shot on Kodak Tri-X.

Woman Song

Woman Song

 
All images © Joe Longobardi. All Rights Reserved.
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April 26, 2015

Asheville Buskers Collective Music Walk

April 24, 2015

This past Friday, April 24, The Asheville Buskers Collective held a music walk/demonstration beginning at 5 p.m. at the Thomas Wolf Auditorium and reaching its crescendo at an assembly and music jam just outside the facade of the Asheville Art Museum at Pack Square. Numerous performers, from musicians to living statues, attended the rally. At the final destination, artists and local supporters gave speeches touting the importance of the music community and its cultural contribution to the city of Asheville. The event was held in response to the recent crackdown by local law enforcement, and particularity by new recruits to the Asheville Police Department, targeting a number of street performers for panhandling.

Gathering outside the Thomas Wolf Auditorium

Gathering outside the Thomas Wolf Auditorium

Waiting for more to arrive

Waiting for more to arrive

Living Statue Dade Murphy

Living Statue Dade Murphy

Marc Hennessey

Marc Hennessey

The gathering was organized by several well established buskers that have been integral in coordinating the collective. This includes percussionist Josh Newton, violinist Marc Hennessey, and Abby Roach (Abby the Spoon Lady). They, along with others, have been in negotiations with the city in trying to establish guidelines that can bring a certain order to busking outwith the city of Asheville having to resort to establishing laws that will regulate street performances via licenses and city taxes. Even the idea of designating specific locations reeks of an overreach that would only discourage the city’s long and proud history of street performance.

Assembling for the march

Assembling for the march

Walking down Haywood Street

Walking down Haywood Street

Crossing College Street

Crossing College Street

Onward to Patton Avenue

Onward to Patton Avenue

The recent implementation of the old panhandling laws comes suspiciously at a time when there have been complaints from local businesses regarding noise level and sidewalk congestion from artists performing near or in front of their establishments. This of course is not a new occurrence as there has always been a somewhat strained relationship between buskers and businesses. The recently influx of transient performers unfortunate has only created a more of a wedge between buskers and business owners.

Passing through

Passing through

Marching down Patton Avenue

Marching down Patton Avenue

Heading toward Pack Square

Heading toward Pack Square

But it seems to go deeper than just nuisance laws. Although buskers have always managed to sell their music CD’s while they perform, it was never legal to do so. This was generally overlooked, but because of the recent harassment by law enforcement and the transient artists that are not up to date with the protocol of being an Asheville street performer, those who have been a integral part of the scene have been bearing the brunt of recent ticket citations. And the citations are not to be taken lightly as those cited will have to appear in court. Currently, I have learned that a number of artists are no longer performing on the streets due to the recent rash of harassment, citations, and the intrusive and intimidating oversight by local law enforcement.

Impromptu jam

Impromptu Jam

Support from locals

Support from locals

Giving speech in support of local artists

Giving speech in support of local artists

Asheville Councilman Cecil Bothwell believes that the city needs to address the “lower quality buskers” that contribute to congested sidewalks and waste matter left behind from their less than housebroken dogs in tow. I have found that any dog waste one will encounter is far from where you would find any performer and is usually the result of an inconsiderate tourist.

Standing up for music with Abby the Spoon Lady (left)

Standing up for music with Abby the Spoon Lady (left)

Josh Newton and Marc Hennessey

Josh Newton and Marc Hennessey

On a personal note, I have always been a big supporter of the downtown busking community. I have taken thousands of photos of local performers and those just passing through. Over the years I have made more friends in this manner than in any other time of my life. It would be a sad day when I can no longer walk down the street with camera in hand while taking in the sounds of that melding of the spiritual and mathematical that we call music. Yes, there are some artists that exhibit more ability than others. But establishing something akin to a litmus test to demonstrate one’s credibility to perform on a city sidewalk would be tantamount to elitism.

Mr. Bothwell feel’s that certain artists have greater merit than others. Orwellian undertones come to mind: “All artists are equal, but some artists are more equal than others.”

Abby the Spoon Lady

Abby the Spoon Lady

Jamming at Pack Square

Jamming at Pack Square

The ABC and city council continue to make headway via open public meetings with the Public Safety Committee at the Municipal Building at 100 Court Plaza .

All images © Joe Longobardi. All Rights Reserved.

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October 24, 2014

To All My Dear Friends

October 22, 2014

I was recently invited by violinist/guitarist Marc Hennessey of the local Asheville band To All My Dear Friends to take some photographs of his ensemble  videotaping atop the Aloft Hotel located in downtown Asheville. Below are several photos of a series I captured that afternoon.

Marc Hennessey

Marc Hennessey

The video was filmed and choreographed by photographer/filmmaker Erin Derham (Busker Blues) and her team as a part of a promotional campaign for the group’s new album Bloom.

Josh Newton

Josh Newton

It was a windy, but dry and sunny October afternoon. Simultaneously wielding two cameras outfitted with different lenses, and striving to stay out of the way, I shot just outside and around the field of view of the film crew.

Marc and Josh

Marc and Josh

The images presented here capture the cinematic essence I felt was conveyed by the group’s performance as they mimed to their music played over speakers.

WatermarkTo All My Dear Friends 2014_11 small

More information on the new release and project is available at toallmydearfriends.com.

For more photos, visit the To All My Dear Friends Album on flickr.

All images © Joe Longobardi. All Rights Reserved.
joelongobardiphotography.com

July 13, 2014

Urban Photography From The Streets Of A Bohemian Mountain Town – Photography Exhibition and Book Release.

Urban Photography From The Streets Of A Bohemian Mountain Town

Urban Photography From The Streets Of A Bohemian Mountain Town

I will hold an exhibition and book release announcement this August at Grateful Steps Publishing House, Bookshop and Gallery for my upcoming street photography book entitled “Urban Photography From the Streets Of A Bohemian Mountain Town,The Art Of Performance. A Journal of Asheville Street Photography.”

The work incorporates a mix of photojournalism with a traditional approach to street photography. The book documents in both words and images the dichotomies and juxtapositions of an urban bohemian environment intertwined with a southern Appalachian culture. The collection focuses on the performance of living, creating, and being an “Ashevillian” in downtown Asheville. The exhibition will showcase photographic excerpts from the book, including street performers and daily life in the city.

The work will be available in both print and ebook. For information on the book, visit http://joelongobardiphotography.com/books.html

Grateful Steps is located at 159 South Lexington Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801. The exhibit will run from August 1 to August 30, 2014. Opening reception is on a Friday, August 8 at 6pm. All works on display are for sale.

For further information, visit GratefulSteps.org for updates of upcoming events, or contact Micki Cabaniss Eutsler at micki@gratefulsteps.org.

All images © Joe Longobardi. All Rights Reserved. joelongobardiphotography.com/

March 23, 2013

From White Street to Street Shots: Bunny Clyde Photo Session

I recently had the opportunity—the privilege, if you will—to photograph legendary jazz saxophonist Thomas ”Bunny” Clyde on St. Patrick’s Day. A friend of mine had recommended me to “Bunny” to take some promotional photos for some upcoming studio work,and he needed them on the quick. To fill in those not familiar with the artist, Bunny Clyde’s resumé reads like a who’s who of modern musical history having played for Gladys Knight and the Pips, and sharing the same stage with Kool and the Gang and Jimi Hendrix along with a list of others that you can read up on at your leisure at his website.

Bunny Clyde 10

 

 

We met for the first time in front of the BB&T Building on Broadway in Asheville. At my urging, I persuaded Bunny to allow me to take some location shots downtown, emphasizing his connection he’s had with the city over the decades as well as his globetrotting sessions in cities on several continents. It was a last minute decision to go out that day as the weather was in the 70’s and not a drop of rain to be found. I put on my street photographer’s cap and encouraged “Bunny” to just be natural and play some arpeggiated riffs while I took some candid shots. This being Asheville, playing on the sidewalks is hardly an anomaly, but the combination of camera flash and his slick attire definitely drew some attention from pedestrians.

I chose several landmarks that I felt would lend an element of history to the shots and chronicling his connection to the downtown music scene. The art deco architecture that graces the sidewalks of the city renders smokey imagery of the golden age of Jazz and the thriving nightclub scene that was a primary source for personal entertainment before the appearance of television and iPods!


Bunny Clyde 8

Having tested our limits for walking up hills and into back alleys for location shots, I rather pushed to try our hands at some quick “studio” shots at this house. As the day was coming to an end, I thought it best to at least try some test shoots to see what we may like to try again for a more formal session. Having arrived at his house, the one obstacle we came across that entire afternoon was space limitations inside his home. His back porch on the other hand was far more spacious allowing me to set up umbrellas, backdrops and use my longer lenses (even if I had to step outside through the screen door to get a shot or five). I concluded that as the sun began to set, that I can easily set up my lights and not be too concerned about any ambient daylight influencing my white balance from the controlled environment.

After a quick set up, we took a number of shots. Since we were limited on time, I decided to work around any issues such as glare on his eyeglasses while trying to maintain separation between his black hat and the black backdrop. I was striving for that Film Noir look (and inspired by those iconic black and white photos of jazz legends) and chose a silver umbrella to emphasize contrast since I knew that I could work with the results in the little time we had. After 30 minutes, we had to tear down as he had family coming over. Surprisingly, I found that some of the shots with the silver umbrella reflecting off his glasses added a nice dimension—a sparkle—to the final images.


Overall, a really good session. You can purchase Bunny’s CD White Street at CD Baby. When you get the chance, run, don’t walk, to catch Bunny Clyde when he’s in Asheville, or any city he’s gigging.

For more photos, visit the Bunny Clyde set on Flickr.

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