The day after Ken Burns’s “Country Music” documentary premiered its first episode on PBS, Belmont’s Leu Art Gallery joined the celebration with the opening of “Jim McGuire: The Nashville Portraits” exhibit.
McGuire, a local artist, was drawn from a young age to hillbilly music, to the sounds, the emotion, the honesty, and then of course to the people who made it. Discovering country music changed his life in ways he couldn’t have dreamed. Over the past thirty-five years, he has had the good fortune to have met, photographed and befriended many of his musical heroes. “Most of us have a drawer full of snapshots that remind us of the good times. These are some of mine.”
McGuire has been making photos in Nashville since the early 1970s, first working out of a friend’s office on 19th Avenue before some few months later moving to what he describes as a “small, ancient, storefront on Wyoming Avenue” in the Sylvan Park neighborhood where he stayed for 13 years. There he photographed the likes of Marty Robbins, Barbara Mandrell, Waylon Jennings and Bill Monroe.
McGuire’s last Nashville studio near downtown ran through some 400 album covers, and countless portrait sessions and book projects. His dedication and passion for photography is apparent within this exhibition that spans his 45-year career.
The Nashville Portraits exhibition will be on view in Belmont’s Leu Art Gallery from Sept. 16-Dec. 6, with an artist talk and reception on Thurs., Sept. 26 from 4-6 p.m.