Big Ears is an international music festival that takes place in late March in the southern Appalachian town of Knoxville, Tennessee. The pictures in this book were made under the influence of music, photographing over four years during the festival between 2014-2017. The book will consist of approx. 90 color photographs, along with recordings accompanying the publication in the form of flexi LPs, an installation and perhaps an online presence. This proposal includes an edit of photographs and a dummy layout showing how the photographs relate to each other. This book is currently in the fundraising and design phase. All support is tax deductible through the Southern Documentary Fund.

The location of the festival – and hearing some of the most challenging music in the world – in downtown Knoxville, a city perhaps not expected to be the home of a festival of this quality and caliber - reverberated through all of my senses.

Included below is a sample list of the artists and bands that played Big Ears between 2014-2017. During the four years that I traveled to Knoxville for Big Ears, I photographed some of the people on this list, but not nearly all of them. Of those I photographed, just a few will be in this book. I heard many of the performances, many were memorable and a few life changing. I photographed during some of these performances, but most of them were un-photographable. Sometimes I only photographed a sound check or rehearsal. The goal of the book is not to be a catalog of every performance and artist that played Big Ears, but an interdependent and unique visual experience that exists precisely because of and in parallel to Big Ears.

During much of my time at Big Ears, I was walking around Knoxville, leaving the theaters and clubs to make pictures on the streets. Even though I was wandering, my mind was tethered to the musical experience. Photographing back and forth between city and festival was an invitation and a challenge to see as openly and freely as the music taught me to listen.

The book's working title, Deep Looking, is taken from "deep listening", a technique and way of being pioneered by the late composer Pauline Oliveros that focuses on enhancing sensory perception.

This book will be the next phase in a collaborative project developed by Rock Fish Stew revolving around Big Ears. The first phase was Big, Bent Ears, the first-ever multi-media project offered by that project’s partner, the legendary New York literary magazine, The Paris Review. Our work was also presented as a museum exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, NC (May 2015 - February 2016). In addition, a full-length art film is forthcoming, without a set date of release.

Photographing, filming and research at the festival and Knoxville between 2014-2017 was largely made possible by The Logan Foundation, Rock Fish Stew Institute of Literature and Materials, Visit Knoxville and AC Entertainment.


Alvin Curran
American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Aoife O’Donovan
Blonde Redhead featuring Acme
Bobby Kapp & Matthew Shipp
Carla Bley Trio with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard
Carla Bley with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra
Claire Chase
Colin Stetson presents ‘Sorrow’: A Reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony
Dave Harrington Group
Dakha Brahka
Emilia Amper
Frederic Rzewski
Frode Haltli
Gavin Bryars Ensemble
Glenn Kotche
Henry Grimes
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid
Horse Lords
Jace Clayton presents Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner
Jeremy Gara
Jessica Moss
Jeff Tweedy Meets Chikamorachi (Chris Corsano & Darin Gray)
Joan Shelley
Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘Drone Mass’ featuring Acme
Juian Lage & Chris Eldridge
Junun featuring Shye Ben Tzur and the Rajasthan Express
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Knoxville Chamber Orchestra directed by Aram Demirjan
Knoxville Jazz Orchestra
LÆtitia Sadier
Lisa Moore
Matana Roberts
Matmos perform Robert Ashley’s ‘Perfect Lives (Private Parts)’
Matthew Shipp
Maya Beiser
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble:The Soul’s Messenger
Michael Hurley
Musica Electronica Viva (Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum & Frederic Rzewski)
My Brightest Diamond
Nils Økland Band
Nils Økland & Mats Eilersten
Nils Økland & Sigbjørn Apeland
Oliver Coates
On Fillmore
Philip Jeck
Quindar (Mikael Jorgensen & James Merle Thomas)
Rachel Grimes ‘The Way Forth’ featuring Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg
Richard Teitelbaum
Sarah Kirkland
Snider Unremembered – DM Smith, Shara Worden, Padma Newsome, The Knights
Shane Parish
Sir Richard Bishop
Six Organs of Admittance
Ståle Storløkken
Ståle Storløkken & Arve Henriksen
Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone
The Crossing
The Magnetic Fields: ‘Fifty Song Memoir’
The Quavers
Theatre of Voices
Theo Bleckmann Duo
Wu Fei
Xiu Xiu
Xylouris White White Magic
Yasmine Hamdan Yuki Numata Resnick

Andrew Bird
Angel Olsen
Andy Stott
Anthony Braxton
Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Bedroom Community 10th Anniversary: Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, Sam Amidon &
Valgeir Sigur›sson
Bryce Dessner
Circuit Des Yeux
Chris Abrahams
Eighth Blackbird with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bryce Dessner
Hieroglyphic Being
Ikue Mori
Joe Henry
John Luther Adams: Composer-in-Residence
Kamasi Washington
Kiasmos (Ólafur Arnalds & Janus Rasmussen)
Laurie Anderson & Philip Glass
Marc Ribot
Mary Halvorson
Maya Beiser
Molly Nilsson Knoxville Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor Steven Schick
performing the Music of John Luther Adams, Bryce Dessner
and Philip Glass with guest cellist Maya Beiser
Nicolas Jaar
Olivia Chaney
Outside the Dream Syndicate (Tony Conrad tribute with Faust)
Phantom Orchard
Shabazz Palaces
Sunn 0)))
Tony Conrad
The Necks
The Gloaming
Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith
Wolf Eyes
Xylouris White
Yo La Tengo
Zeena Parkins & Tony Buck

A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Amen Dunes
Ben Frost
Bryce Dessner
Bill Frisell
Bing & Ruth
Max Richter: The Blue Notebooks & Infra feat. American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Max Richter: Vivaldi Recomposed & The Leftovers feat. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
and American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Jamie xx
Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet ‘Landfall’
Nels Cline
Nosaj Thing
Gyan Riley
Harold Budd & Keith Lowe
‘Häxan’ re-scored by Demdike Stare
Hildur Gu›nadóttir
Holly Herndon
Little Annie
Jozef Van Wissem
Omar Souleyman
Perfume Genius
Rhiannon Giddens
Ryley Walker
Sam Amidon
Silver Apples
Steve Gunn
Tanya Tagaq
Terry Riley
The Bad Plus
Tyondai Braxton: HIVE
William Tyler
Wu Man

Bill Orcutt
Colin Stetson
Dawn Of Midi
Dean and Britta: 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests
Dean Wareham
Ensemble Signal
Glenn Kotche
Jonny Greenwood
John Cale
Julia Holter
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog
Mark Ribot performing the original score to Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Kid’
Mark McGuire
Nazoranai (Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, Stephen O’Malley)
Nils Frahm
Oneohtrix Point Never
Son Lux
So Percussion
Steve Reich
Tim Hecker
Vatican Shadow
Vladislav Delay