Oakland Blues.

Photographs by Michele Vignes. Text by Francoise Holstein.
Marval, Paris, English, 1989. In France. 84 pp., 54 duotone plates, 9½x8½".

This evocative, atmospheric collection of portraits by French photographer Michelle Vignes celebrates the social milieu and visceral power of the urban blues. Shot in joints with names like "Cozy Den" and "Mile High" in Oakland's black neighborhoods, these photos offer graphic testimony to the nocturnal wail, the stomping and moaning, the passion, defiance, and pain of the blues. Through the ambiance of cigarette smoke and bar glasses, Vignes' lens captures the emotional register of a hip-shaking dancer's sway, a musician's trance, and a rapt spectator's knowing gaze.

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