New exhibit showcases work of Nashville photojournalist Alan L. Mayor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — You can take a step back in time and check out Nashville’s rich music scene through photos.

The Alan L. Mayor Retrospective exhibit officially opened Wednesday, Sept. 6 inside the Bobby Hotel in downtown Nashville.

Mayor was a prominent country music photojournalist in Nashville who captured well known artists, such as Dolly Parton and Alan Jackson, starting as far back as the 1970s.

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“He had access and he also had trust with artists,” said Craig Shelburne. “He could make himself part of it and he could put you into the scene.”

Shelburne works as a festival producer for the Americana Music Festival and Conference. It was at last year’s festival when he got the idea to highlight Mayor and his work with an exhibit.

“It just happened by coincidence through conversation and more conversations,” he said. “I think what really brought this collection together was just the shared admiration for Alan’s work.”

After Mayor died in 2015, his family was looking for a place to preserve his work.

They soon visited Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Popular Music and allowed the center to possess his photographs.

Olivia Beaudry is an archivist at the center who helped provide photographs for the exhibit.

“You’ll see Nashville history in this exhibit,” she said. “It goes from 1972 to 1999…but you see how the industry changes from outfits and things, but also people and how they changed over time.”

Over 60 photos from the collection can be found scattered throughout the hotel for people to see.

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“There are so many familiar faces and there are so many artists who are at their prime, and they are captured in the moment when their career is at its height,” said Shelburne. “It brings you back to that moment and brings back a lot of fond memories of Nashville in the 80s and the 90s and what it was like to be around fan fare.

The exhibit is free to the public.

Visitors who are not staying at the hotel can valet for a discounted rate of $15. For more information, visit, call 615-782-7100 or email

The exhibit will be open until Jan. 6, 2024.

You can learn more about the exhibit and purchase photos here.

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