Anyone fortunate enough to witness his live performances knows that two dimensions are not enough to contain the force that is Black Velvet, aka Mr. James Brown, Jr. Photographer Kelsey Bennett defies these odds in her latest series, Black Velvet: The Godfather of Soul, the result of which is a suite of indelible images showcasing the transformative powers of music and identity.
Shot over Summer and Fall 2010, with an astounding reciprocal trust between subject and photographer, Godfather of Soul offers a remarkable glimpse at the personal life of Charles Bradley (as he is otherwise known). The series showcases the meticulous preparation and genuine devotion to the craft of this one-of-a-kind performer.
As Bradley’s fame as a singer in his own right continues to rise, making Black Velvet gigs less frequent, Bennett’s photos offer an immediate and much deserved reverence for a local legend at the height of his prowess.
Black Velvet: The Godfather of Soul will open at The Christopher HenryGallery in NYC on July 21st of 2011. The exhibit will feature a video of a performance by Black Velvet projected onto an installation replicating the venue, Tip Top, where Bennett and Bradley first met, plus an opening-night soul food buffet.
To view more photos from the series visit Kelseybennett.com.
About Kelsey Bennett: In 2010, Bennett had her first solo exhibition with The Christopher Henry Gallery, Hypnogogia. Shortly afterwards, she was selected as a Gawker Artist, with Gawker Media hosting her second solo show, On The Lam. Bennett’s work has been also been featured at The Lu Magnus Gallery, as well as the Scope and Fountain art fairs. Most recently she has been working with her grandfather, singer Tony Bennett, documenting his upcoming album, Duets II. This project afforded her the opportunity to photograph music icons such as KD Lang, Amy Winehouse, Willie Nelson, and of course Tony himself. When she is not on the road with her camera, Bennett works as a newborn photographer in a Brooklyn maternity wars . . . and brings art to the people with El Camino ARTRV.