We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


Musicians John Cohen and Milt Hinton are time-keepers of the most valuable sort: photo-chroniclers of their respective scenes each with an insider’s view. Cohen has long been obsessed with recording history: With his partners in the New Lost City Ramblers, he has rendered faithful versions of traditional tunes for almost 40 years. Cohen takes the same care not to disturb those in his viewfinder; he’s a sympathetic spectator with a passion for people and their traditions. In Cohen’s section of the “Keeping Time” exhibit, his pictures of little folk, such as a Kentucky boy holding his homemade banjo or Aymara musicians in Peru, hang comfortably next to shots of larger-than-life figures such as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie (pictured), suggesting equal import among all his subjects. Where Cohen’s shots are framed with an art student’s eye, Hinton’s backstage and downtime snaps are almost plain and perhaps better viewed as important documentation than as significant works of art. The former Cab Calloway bassist’s pictures span the history of “America’s classical music,” from Dizzy Gillespie sleeping on a train circa 1940 to a haggard Billie Holiday in a recording studio circa 1958 to the Afroed Marsalis brothers jamming in New Orleans in 1979. At the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 17th & New York Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 638-1439; the companion exhibit “Life on the Road: The Photography of Milt Hinton,” is on view to July 13 at the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, 900 Jefferson Dr. SW. FREE. (202) 357-2700. (Christopher Porter)