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TO DEC. 13
Dick Waterman’s exhibition of photographs, on view at the Govinda Gallery, is accompanied by the release of a glossy, text-heavy catalog from Thunder’s Mouth Press. Like much “undiscovered” work, the noted music promoter’s photographs were perhaps deservedly sequestered, only to find their moment when the blues-ephemera market became large enough for someone to roll dem bones on their commercial release. The catalog’s designer seems to sense the mediocrity of most of the work, burying it in what have become blues-book clichés: computer-generated burlap textures, distressed typefaces, and lots of duotoning. The originality of the subject matter notwithstanding, Waterman’s photographs of legendary musicians are sometimes inherently interesting, and there is passion in some of the performances he captureseven if he almost always captures it in the form of midlength, three-quarter views of guys playing guitar. (Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James are pictured.) The best shots are powered by the emotion of the subjects: A young Buddy Guy clutches his box as if afraid it will take off; lovers Bob Dylan and Joan Baez share an onstage but private-feeling moment of discomfort between quarrels; Robert Pete Williams plays to himself on a staircase. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, to Saturday, Dec. 13, at Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW. Free. (202) 333-1180. (Jandos Rothstein)