Photographs from six decades of country music as seen through the lenses of three distinguished photographers: Harold Baldwin, Jim McGuire, and Russ Harrington.
Harold Baldwin received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial arts from Northern Colorado State University. He did doctoral work at George Peabody College, the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University and began teaching at Middle Tennessee State College in 1959 and remained at the University until he retired in 1991. He initially taught metalwork in the Industrial Arts Department and founded the MTSU Photographic Gallery and Lightyear, a yearly publication of the gallery’s collection and student work. As curator of the gallery’s archives, he acquired works by internationally recognized photographers such as Ansel Adams. Today, this collection is valued over $1 million. After retirement, Baldwin donated $100,000 to sustain the MTSU Photographic Gallery. Mr.Baldwin’s work in this exhibit was taken in and around the Ryman in the late sixties and early seventies.
The Harold Baldwin Collection at The Center for Popular Music
Russ Harrington studied photography in college with Harold Baldwin and developed his style while shooting models and fashion ads for a high-end department store. That work led to an editorial photo shoot with Trisha Yearwood. Yearwood hired Harrington to shoot her next album cover. More than 600 covers later, Harrington has captured revealing images of the world’s most-photographed musicians and performers, including Loretta Lynn and Jack White, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and Brad Paisley. His portfolio features a who’s who of the music business: Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Al Green, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Dolly Parton, and Reba McEntire are just a few.
Jim McGuire learned how to use a camera in Vietnam in the Air Force in 1964. Later, he began shooting bluegrass music festivals in Northern Virginia, which led to shooting album covers. McGuire moved to Nashville in 1972, where he has spent years shooting covers for major labels and big stars like Marty Robbins, Barbara Mandrell, Waylon Jennings, and Bill Monroe— all out of a small storefront studio. His body of black-and-white images of musicians now known as The Nashville Portraits is one of his most satisfying achievements.