Hi. My name is Corey Woodruff. I'm a photographer based in St. Louis, Missouri. My friends call me Woody. You can too but that might get a little confusing given that this project has to do with another, much more famous Woody: Woody Guthrie.
In 1942, Woody Guthrie listed 33 "New Years Rulin's" in his journal. The much-publicized list has come to serve as a bit of a primer for his ideals and makes from some entertaining reading. Everything from personal hygiene ("Wash Teeth If Any", "Change Socks") to personal philosophy ("Keep Hoping Machine Running", "Help Win War - Beat Fascism") is covered.
You can see a full list of the original "Rulin's" here.
As a small tribute to the folk hero, musician and activist that would be 100 years old this year, I issued myself a personal challenge to create a photo illustrating each of Guthrie's "Rulin's". Whenever possible, the subject of each photo would be someone inspired/influenced by Guthrie's work. So far, participants have included musicians, artists, writers, activists and even a dog named Arlo. Everyone has graciously volunteered their time and each experience has been incredibly rewarding, if I may make a massive understatement.
Now that the project is nearing completion, I am faced with the question of what to do with all of these images.
So, I've decided to host an one-night-only photo exhibition in St. Louis (where I live) on July 13th, the night before Woody's 100th birthday. It will be my first solo exhibition and I will be showing each of the 32 photos from the project. There will also be live music from some amazing Guthrie-inspired artists. It should be a lot of fun for fans of photography as well as Guthrie aficionados.
The reason I need your help is that printing, framing and mounting an exhibit of this size is not cheap. Even at the relatively modest size of 12"x18", it is going to cost me $2500 to display all 32 of the photos and host the event.
That hefty sum includes the following costs:
- Printing the photos on archival papers with premium inks
- Framing the prints
- Hardware to mount the framed prints in the exhibition space
- Licensing fees to the Woody Guthrie Archives, who have graciously allowed me to reproduce his "Rulin's" for the exhibit
I am also taking part in the Kicking It Forward program.
If this thing really takes off, extra funds could be used to support Guthrie-inspired charities or even create a traveling exhibit of the photos.
Which reminds me...
I assume you want to see some of the work that you will have a hand in showcasing. No problem. Here are a few images from the project that I've created so far:
#25 Play And Sing Good - Pokey LaFarge, Musician
#1 Work More And Better - Cathy Sherwin, labor activist
#6 Eat Good: Fruit, Vegetables, Milk - Molly Rockamann, Co-Founder of Earth Dance Farms
#17 Don't Get Lonesome - Ha Ha Tonka, band
If you are like most folks, you have heard of Woody Guthrie but don't know much about him. You probably know he wrote that song you learned in kindergarten, "This Land Is Your Land". You might even know that he is the father of Arlo Guthrie, that dude that played at Woodstock and wrote "Alice's Restaurant". Beyond that, you are generally clueless about the guy. And that's OK. Until a few months ago, I was right there with you.
At the beginning of 2012, a couple of local bloggers (Scott Allen of 3 Minute Record and Robin Wheeler) brought to my attention that this year marks the centennial of Guthrie's birth. They wanted to contribute to the myriad of celebrations and so created Bound For Glory 100. After they asked me to somehow contribute photos to their project, my own endeavor was born and I have since commenced to schooling myself on all things Guthrie. And I am glad I did, because I now feel a tremendous responsibility to make this project rock.
It turns out that Guthrie was far more than a writer of catchy children's songs. He was a labor activist that championed the plight of migrant workers and the working class in general. He was a restless troubadour, traveling thousands of miles as he played songs and explored this great land--frequently via illicit rail travel or hitchhiking. Above all, he worked hard to improve the world and in the process created a phenomenal legacy with little more than some big ideas and his own two hands.
With your help, I can share the work he has inspired in me.
THE EVENT (Updated 5/9)
Some folks have asked some questions about the event itself, so I figured I would clear that up.
Friday, July 13th
PLUSH St. Louis
3224 Locust St., Saint Louis, MO
Photo exhibit (upstairs) opens at 6pm, free to the public
Music starts at 8pm in the first floor venue, $5 cover (FREE WITH $50+ REWARD LEVELS!)
The incomparable Mark Bilyeu of Big Smith will be performing a set of Woody Guthrie tunes, and we'll have two excellent local artists performing too (TBD).
Plush has incredible food and a phenomenal bar, so I encourage everyone to make a night of it. Let's throw a great birthday party for Woody!
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support.
- (30 days)