Francoise Digel - Photo Sandrine Boulois

Francoise Digel - Photo Sandrine Boulois

Behind my camera, in front of the stage or further away, I have learned to watch and listen differently to the blues. I take in what comes out. I absorb it. I follow each movement, anticipate each breath. I grasp the ups and the downs. I sense the whispers, laughters, chants, laments, hums, murmurs... and screams. When bodies stretch out tensions, when features freeze in intensity, when times stops, notes halt their flight. For a tenth of a second, sometimes less, the origins of the blues burst out in their most powerful expression, like a forceful reminder.

The lens paradoxically doesn't put any distance between the musicians I photograph and myself. On the contrary, it allows me to open my head, soul, body and heart to the words, sounds, rhythms and culture. It helps me get inside the lyrics, feel the mood, grasp the groove – enter the music zone.

There and then, I am ready. Ready for “the” picture. The picture that will illustrate the intensity musicians put in their art while on stage, how much of themselves they share with the audience. Such a beautiful and precious present!

Behind my camera, I feel a very special bond. A soul to soul connection. A bond which enables me to live, smile, laugh, breathe, love, even to outcry and overcome the blues,  my blues.

Screamin' the Blues is my way of honoring Koko Taylor who offered me my very first blues emotions with her screams, back in 1988. It is my way of shouting thank you to all these wonderful artists.

It is today a great honor for me to present this collection at The Blues Foundation in Memphis.

— Françoise Digel