Derek Bridges

213 Articles
Derek Bridges

What: A “Special Collector’s Edition” magazine called Oliver North: Portrait of an American Hero.

Where: Purchased in 1987 for $3.50 at an Eagle supermarket in northern Illinois.

Why?: Yes, it’s true, almost half of all Americans at one time were hot for Ollie North.

Huh?:  You didn’t answer the question: Why?: I bought it to prove that I’d seen it. I recently dug it out of a box I had in storage and …


Derek Bridges

A few years ago I started noticing many of my photos were getting uploaded to Wikimedia Commons–which was perfectly legit as I’d uploaded them to flickr using a Creative Commons license that allowed anyone to use my images so long as I received attribution. The Wikimedia uploads, mostly pictures of musicians, second line parades and politicians, were diligently attributed to me and increased the likelihood someone would see them. I liked the idea there was some guy out there who thought my photos were worth the effort–his effort, slight as it may have been.

At some point I finally connected that the guy uploading my pics to Wikimedia was one of my flickr contacts, Infrogmation. I poked around and found he was quite active in Wikimedia and Wikipedia, and judging by some of his photos, he seemed to play a little trombone. He didn’t shoot with a high end camera but he had a decent one (Canon PowerShot) and a patient eye and he covered a lot of ground (a good example of his dogged work is his series documenting Banksy’s graffiti art around New Orleans). He also uploaded photos he inherited of family members from the 1920s and 1930s and he had a good feel for oddball but revealing historical ephemera:

Derek Bridges

From Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans by Charles B. Hersch (University of Chicago Press, 2008, pages 180-182):

The small group transformation of ragtime through the blues tradition, hauling it onto the streets where it marched, can be seen in a performance of High Society Rag by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, featuring a young Louis Armstrong. This tune defined New Orleans jazz, for as Lee Collins put it, ‘at that time when you heard a clarinet play High Society you didn’t ask him where he was from. You knew he was from New Orleans …’