Music And Images That Defy Era : The Picture Show Photos and video capture Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings' retro style.
NPR logo Music And Images That Defy Era

Music And Images That Defy Era

If you were to watch this video without context, you may have no idea when it was made.


It's slightly retro, in that it was made in 2007. The director, Adam Elias Buncher, used two vintage TV cameras — bought on eBay for $50 each — to visualize the timeless music of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

Photographer Sophie Borazanian also wanted to convey that vintage style through her documentation of the band. "The Dap Kings have a distinct style of music and such a retro sound that I had almost forgotten about," she says in a phone interview. In fact, Borazanian was a fan of soul music before she was a photographer. The transitional moment for her happened at one of their performances last summer in Cleveland, when she used her imaginative style of photography to depict their show.

The gospel, funk/soul nine-piece collective emulates a genre as it was at its height in the mid-1960s to mid-'70s. Their latest album, I Learned the Hard Way, was recorded on a vintage Ampex 8-track machine in a studio that the band built themselves. The result is a timeless, textured sound that inspired Borazanian to make images with a similar effect.

Although the photographs are digital, they are dark and grainy like the black-and-white film of yesteryear. "When the music started up, it was a huge rush," Borazanian recalls. "But this time I had to really focus; there is something about them that excites my imagination. It's so nice it's not just something from the past."

People across all cultures and eras have created, consumed and responded to music. For Borazanian, the response is a visual one that also, somehow, seems to transcend time.

Listen to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in concert to hear their retro style.