{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/folklife.php' }

Pics of the Week: Fairfield Four!

Earlier today, the great gospel quartet The Fairfield Four graced the stage of the Coolidge Auditorium, and I was fortunate enough to take photos of them.  I thought I’d share a few of them here as “pics of the week.”

A Cappella singing groups are often hard to photograph, because they stand in a straight line behind their microphones. Images shot from one side do a great job of capturing the singer closest to the camera, so you’ll often see us photographers hanging out for half the show at stage left and half at stage right! I’ve also found that shooting with the camera held at an angle not only adds some drama to the shot, it can sometimes get all the singers in the frame in situations where a right-angle shot can’t. Although some of the singers will be obscured and out of focus, the technique still helps the photo tell a story of teamwork rather than individual singing, harmony rather than soloing, which is often what these groups are all about.  In the first shot, bass singer Joe Thompson dominates the shot as he leads in singing the group’s hit from the film O Brother Where Art Thou, “The Lonesome Valley.”

The Fairfield Four in the Coolidge Auditorium, September 28, 2017. Left to right, Leveret Allison, Bobbye Sherrell, Larrice Byrd Sr., and Joe Thomspon. Photo by Stephen Winick for AFC.

My second shot, from the other side of the stage, captures Leveret Allison pointing toward heaven to give thanks to God, another big part of the group’s gospel message:

The Fairfield Four in the Coolidge Auditorium, September 28, 2017. Left to right, Leveret Allison, Bobbye Sherrell, Larrice Byrd Sr., and Joe Thomspon. Photo by Stephen Winick for AFC.

These shots from one end of the stage do have a disadvantage: they leave the “men in the middle” out of focus, so I’ve included a shot of each of them below, out of respect for their great singing and forceful stage presence: Bobbye Sherrell is on the left and Larrice Byrd Sr. is on the right.

Two members of the Fairfield Four in separate shots captured in the Coolidge Auditorium, September 28, 2017. Left to right, Bobbye Sherrell and Larrice Byrd Sr. Photos by Stephen Winick for AFC.

It’s a fun fact that, in their concert today, The Fairfield Four sang one of the same songs that the great gospel group The Golden Gate Quartet sang on the same stage in December 1940. When the video of their performance becomes available, I’ll write a blog presenting both versions to compare.  In the meantime, enjoy the photos!

 

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.