Brant Zwicker attends several blues festivals across the country every year. The music is one of his passions — he’s behind the At The Crossroads radio show devoted to the genre — but his travels also give him the chance to help out the Kamloops Brain Injury Association. All it takes is his camera, musicians who give him the OK and the time and money needed to create a calendar with some of the giants of the music gracing it each month.
It’s a labour of love, Zwicker said, although sometimes he runs across glitches he didn’t expect.
There are some musicians who just don’t agree — or, more often, their public-relations or management teams don’t agree — to let him use the photograph he has taken. He gets it, Zwicker said. He also completely understood another request from one of the artists on a calendar he created who, upon seeing the shot, asked him to smooth out the lines of her top “because she wanted to be able to show it to her grandma.” Zwicker obliged.
The shots are all black and white because he likes the starkness of the imagery “and the fact you can’t cheat with it.”
The cover photo is the only one not in black and white, showing the hands of Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne on the piano, all in sepia tones.
Other performers included in the calendar, which goes to January 2018, include Otis Clay, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, Irene Torres and the Sugar Devils, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Cecile Doo-Kingue, Sugaray Rayford/The Mannish Boys Revue, Amos Garrett, Danielle Schnebelen/Trampled Under Foot, Harpdog Brown, Zakiya Hooker and Kenny Wayne.
Zwicker took the photographs at the Calgary Bluesfest, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues and “the late, great Waterfront Blues Festival in Toronto.”
When there is blues at the Rotary Bandshell for Music in the Park, he has headed there, too. The fundraiser is also inspired in a way by the blues — and his friend Neil Harnett, based in White Rock and himself a blues man who has been nominated for a Juno Award and shared the stage with the likes of Jeff Healey, Chuck Berry and The Doobie Brothers.
Harnett’s daughter Amy had an accident at work several years ago, which left her with a huge brain injury. She and her family have worked hard on her recovery, which is ongoing, and Zwicker wanted to do something to help others like her and honour her own journey.