Blues Hands by Joseph Rosen

An extraordinary collection of the legends of blues with a singular focus on hands. The hands that have lifted our hearts and told so many stories through the vibrations of the strings on their instruments with the sound of their voices. Let's have Mr. Rosen tell the story in his own words.

"In 1976, I made a pilgrimage to see Muddy Waters. It was a life altering experience. I’ve been lucky enough to follow and photograph Blues Music and Blues musicians continuously ever since.

I’ve shot in rough juke joints, elegant clubs, concert halls, cruises, festivals and pretty much anywhere else I could find the music.

From the Shameless Self-promotion Department: I contribute regularly to publications that cover the Blues and Americana. I’ve done over thirty CD covers. In 2002 I was honored to receive the “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” from the Blues Foundation of Memphis, TN. In 2008 I was selected to be the “embedded photojournalist” with the Bluzapalooza Tour of Iraq, where top Blues artists entertained the troops.

Over the years, like most photographers, I would occasionally shoot the hands of a performer.

I had an “Ah-Hah” moment while editing a digital take from the January 2007 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. I came across two images of hands, one of R&B veteran Jimmy McCracklin and one of bassist Cliff Belcher. I knew then I had a theme: a thread to follow wherever it went. Hands tell a story.

Since that time I have been consciously seeking out and shooting the hands of performers. A few frames here, a few frames there.

The artists are sometimes playing, sometimes at rest, but hopefully the images always say something about the performer, the music and/or the moment.

What follows is a selection of those photos, with the addition of a few others from my files that seemed to fit in well. It is a work in progress, with more to come, but I hope you enjoy “Blues Hands.”

A portion of any profits realized by sales of these images will be donated to the Blues Foundation’s HART (Handy Artists Relief Trust) Fund."


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