Jazz/Blues Pianist Henry Butler Profiled In HBO Documentary - "Dark Light: The Art Of Blind Photographers"


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Photos By New Orleans' Native Musical Son Are The Subject Of Compelling Film Airing This Month Nationwide On The Cable Network As Well As A Traveling Photo Exhibit

Los Angeles, California. Henry Butler, pianist extraordinaire, will now be recognized in another medium for which he excels—photography. The photographs of the legendary sight-impaired jazz and blues musician are the subject of a new documentary which begins airing on HBO this month entitled, “Dark Light: The Art Of Blind Photographers." Butler is extensively profiled in the film alongside two other sight-impaired photographers—Peter Eckert and Bruce Hall.

“Dark Light: The Art Of Blind Photographers" explores the creativity of innovative artists who transcend their physical limitations. Directed and produced by renowned photographer Neil Leifer (best known for his classic shot of Muhammad Ali standing over defeated opponent Sonny Liston), “Dark Light: The Art Of Blind Photographers" reveals the fascinating landscapes of the internal world of the blind and profiles artists who are drawn to photography for a variety of reasons, including creating an image for the sighted world they hold in their mind or capturing an image experienced through nature. The film has already generated excellent word-of-mouth at film festivals including the Newport Beach Film Festival (where it was chosen as “Best Short Documentary"), the Bermuda International Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Garden State Film Festival, the Honolulu International Film Festival, the Sacramento International Film Festival and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Said Butler, “My approach to photography is partly intuitive and a bit intellectual. The intellectual aspect is realized mostly after the picture has been taken and developed—showing the photos to people, getting their take on the captured images. Over the years, I've realized that if I show one image to ten people, I will realize at least ten different interpretations of the image. The intuitive part happens in the beginning, and is based on my understanding and awareness of the environment where the image is taken. I usually ask my assistant questions about distance, lighting, color scheme, my position relative to the subject, etc. If I get answers that affirm my desires for shooting photos, I will do so. The decision to capture the image is mine alone."

Butler, who focuses (no pun intended) on photographing people, also recently had his photos on exhibit in California at UC Riverside as part of a group show curated by noted photographer Douglas McCulloh that features the works of visually impaired artists. “Sight Unseen" is the first major museum exhibition of its kind thematically and has traveled to The Kennedy Center in D.C., Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, and is currently on view at Gallery Flacon in Moscow.

A nine-time W.C. Handy “Best Blues Instrumentalist—Piano" award nominee, Henry Butler knows no limitations. Although blinded by glaucoma since birth, Butler began playing piano since the age of six and is a master of musical diversity. Combining the percussive jazz piano playing of McCoy Tyner and the New Orleans style playing of Professor Longhair through his classically trained wizardry, Butler continues to craft a sound uniquely his own. A rich amalgam of jazz, Caribbean, classical, pop, blues and R&B influences, his music is as excitingly eclectic as that of his New Orleans birthplace. Butler and his band tour worldwide and his latest CD, “PiaNOLA Live," was released in 2008 by Basin Street Records.

The official trailer can be viewed here.

This story appears courtesy of Muse Media.
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