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INVENTING

REALITY

New Orleans Visionary Photography CURATED BY D. ERIC BOOKHARDT


CONTENTS

Foreword, Russell Lord

7

Introduction and Commentary, D. Eric Bookhardt

11

E2 (Kleinveld & Julien)

22

Nicola Krebill

28

Dinah DiNova

32

Louviere + Vanessa

36

Gus Bennett, Jr.

40

Kevin Kline & Bruce Schultz

46

Wallace Merritt

52

Deborah Luster

58

Sandra Russell Clark

64

Lisette de Boisblanc

70

Jennifer Shaw

76

Ann Marye George

82

Josephine Sacabo

88

Euphus Ruth

94

Meg Turner

98

Akasha Rabut

102

Frank Relle

106

David C. Halliday

110


CONTENTS

Elizabeth Shannon

114

Victoria Ryan

118

Lee Deigaard

122

Michel Varisco

126

S. Gayle Stevens & Judy Sherrod

130


FORE WORD RUSSELL LORD Freeman Family Cur ator of Photogr aphs Ne w Orle ans MuSEum of ART

Th e h i story of photography in N ew Or le a n s i s l ong and rich. It extends ba ck a lm o st to the origins of photog ra phy i ts e lf a n d, as this book attes ts , c o n ti n ue s to thriv e today in the wo rk o f a de di c ated group of photogra phers a n d a r ti s ts. The w ork presented here de f i e s e a sy categorization, bu t tha t, o f c o ur s e , mirrors the ambition s o f p h o to gr a phy itsel f: impossibl e t o pi n do wn , p h otography has infil trated ev ery a s p e c t o f modern l ife, from birth to de a th , a n d rel igion to w ar. As a r es u lt, p h o to gr a phy’s identity continues to be a h i gh ly contested topic. This d eba te h a s be e n heightened in the post-d i g i ta l a ge . F a c e d w ith digital processes whi ch so m e s e e a s fundamental l y differen t fro m e a r li e r fo rms of photography, cri ti cs , sc h o la r s , and artists hav e recen tly la m e n te d the death of photograph y. B ut what exactl y is it tha t ha s e n de d? The fiel d of photograph y ha s a lwa y s e ncompassed a wide arra y o f p r o c e s se s , functions, and phenomen a , a ll o f wh i c h c ome and go in an endl ess cycle o f r e p e ti tion and ev ol u tion. Cons i d er, fo r e x a m p l e, the w orks reproduc ed i n th i s vo lume, most of which di rectly e n ga ge wi th photography’s own his to ry. Co m p r i se d of a v ariety of historic a n d

co n tem po ra ry pho to g ra phi c m edi a , f r o m g ela ti n s i lv er pri n ts to pho to g ravur e s a n d co llo d i o n - ba s ed ti n types , t h e s e wo rk s d i g thro u g h pho to g rap h y ’ s techn o lo g i ca l a n d a rti s ti c pa s t to t e l l u s s o m ethi n g a bo u t i ts pres en t a n d fu tu re co n d i ti o n s . C o llecti v ely, t h e y fo rm a n a rg u m en t fo r a co n ce p t i o n o f pho to g ra phy tha t i s fra ctur e d , m u lti v a len t, hybri d , a n d v ery muc h a li v e, a s i f to defi a n tly a rg u e a g a i n s t a n y n o ti o n o f pho to g ra phi c dea th. Thi s , to m e, i s a ls o v ery N e w O rlea n s . In o ther pla ces , when pe o p l e s pea k o f dea th o r o f en di n g s i t i s w i t h a res i g n ed fi n a li ty, a s i f thes e thi n gs a r e fo llo wed by a n a bs o lu te n o thi n g n e s s . H ere, where the ta ll crypts o f t h e cem eteri es cro wd o u t the s k y, a n d t h e bra s s ba n d a n d s eco n d li n e pa ra d es d a n c e thei r wa y thro u g h the s treets , d ea th i s a co n s ta n t pres en ce, a n d therefo re a p a r t o f li fe. H ere the tra d i ti o n a l li n e f r o m bi rth to dea th i s ci rcu m s cri bed wi t h i n a cycle tha t i n clu des rebi rth a n d i n w h i c h en d i n g s a re res ta g ed a s beg i n ni n g s . It thu s m a k es perfect s en s e tha t N e w O rlea n s wo u ld cu lti v a te a pa rtic ul a r s tra i n o f pho to g ra phi c pra cti ce t h a t i n heren tly d i s m i s s es en di n g s , a n d l e a n s to wa rd s the fu tu re whi le m a i n ta i ni n g a 7


fo o th o ld i n the past. Within these p a g es , Er i c B o o k hardt traces the story behi n d th i s str a i n of photography. It is a s to ry a b o ut i de ntity, tension, perceptio n a n d th e p sy c h ic mystery of photography i n Ne w Or le ans. And l ike al l stories a bo u t p h o to gr a phy, its origins can, in tu rn , be tr a c e d to the origins of photog ra phy i ts e lf. I n other w ords, for the roo ts o f th i s n e w beginning in New O rlea n s p h o to gr a phy, we can begin at ano ther be gi n n i n g. I n 1 839, the year that photog ra phy wa s i n tr o d u ced to the w orl d, W i lli a m He n r y Fox Tal bot, the Bri ti s h i n ve n to r of the photographic nega ti v e, r e fe r r e d to the process he inv ent ed a s “ Ph o to ge nic Drawing, or, the Pro ces s by W h i c h Natu ral Obj ects May B e M a de to Del ineate Themsel v es. ” Fo r Ta lbo t, the new mediu m was a ki n d o f dr a wi n g, bu t a kind that w as au tom a ti c, th a t p e r f ormed its ow n process. T he a uto ge n e tic nature of Tal bot’s inv e n ti o n i n s p i r e d widespread w onder amo n g s t th e m i d-n i neteenth century publ ic . The m y s te r i o us and su dden appearan ce o f i m a ge s o n su rfaces confounded and ev en te r r i fi e d some earl y v iewers. T a lbo t, a c a r e f ul, conscientious, note-t a k i n g m a n o f s cience, was ev en accu s ed o f da b b li n g ‘ in the dark arts’ and of dea li n g i n ‘ n a tur a l magic.’ Ea r l ier that year across the Ch a n n e l, the introdu ction of Lo u i s Da gue r r e ’ s eponymou s daguerre o type p r o c e s s was simil arl y greeted wi th a m i x tur e o f excitement and anxiety. T he lum i n o us su rface of the dagu erreo type r e ve a le d incredibl y detail ed traces o f h um a n e x istence as if the pl ate s i m ply so a k e d up whatev er it faced. This “m i rro r wi th a m emory” prov oked al l kind s o f e le gi a c us es: soon after its introdu cti o n to th e worl d, dagu erreotypes o f the r e c e n tly deceased wou l d serve a s

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s u rro g a tes fo r thei r s u bject’s for me r exi s ten ce. T he a ct o f lo o k i n g a t t h e s e m em o ri a l o bjects wa s hei g hten ed b y t h e m i rro red s u rfa ce o f the da g u erreo t y p e whi ch a lwa ys reflects the v i ewer’s f a c e i n a ddi ti o n to the i m a g e o f the dece a s e d , s u peri m po s i n g li fe o v er d ea th a n d co lla ps i n g ti m e a n d s pa ce i n to a si n g l e ha u n ti n g i m a g e. Ju s t a deca de la ter a s pho to g r a p h y ca m e to be s een a s a reli a ble a n d fa it h f ul reco rd i n g to o l, pho to g ra phs o f gh o s t s were pu t fo rwa rd a s “ev i d en ce” o f t h e exi s ten ce o f a wo rld i n v i s i ble to t h e human eye. As early as the mid-nineteenth cen tu ry, s pi ri t pho to g ra phers be c a me em bro i led i n d eba tes a n d la ws u i ts a b o ut the tru th o r fa ls eho o d o f thei r w o r ks . T hu s ev en thro u g ho u t the fi rs t f e w d eca d es o f pho to g ra phy’s d ev elo pm e n t , thi s n ew phen o m en o n ’s i d en ti t y i s i m m ed i a tely co n fli cted, wra pped u p i n a s eri es o f o ppo s i n g fo rces : the n ew a n d o ld, dra wi n g a n d pho to g en i cs , s c i e n c e a n d m a g i c, tru th a n d fa ls eho o d, l i f e a n d d ea th. Pho to g ra phy’s i n cre d i b l e a bi li ty to s u rv i v e ha s a lwa ys depe n d e d u po n i ts m a llea bi li ty, o n i ts s ta tu s a s a hybri d phen o m en o n tha t thri v es in t h e s pa ce between o ppo s i n g fo rces . T h e i m a g es wi thi n thes e pa g es fu n cti o n o n s i m i la r lev els , o ften o pera ti n g bet w e e n a tem po ra l d rea m wo rlds a n d wa k i n g l i f e , between s ci en ce a n d m a g i c, o r bet w e e n hi s to ry a n d fu tu re. T ha t they a re t h e pro d u cts o f thi s co m m u n i ty i s en t i r e l y a ppro pri a te. After a ll, N ew O rl e a n s , li k e pho to g ra phy, i s i ts elf the pro d uc t o f a s eri es o f s tri k i n g , co n tra d i c t o r y elem en ts . N ew O rlea n s i s a s tra n g e p l a c e . I ha v e o n ly been here a s ho rt whi l e b ut I do u bt tha t i t wi ll g et a n y les s s tr a n g e wi th a g e. T hi s s u s pi ci o n i s co n fi r me d d a i ly i n m y en co u n ters wi th pe o p l e who ha v e been here fa r lo n g er th a n I


a n d i n m y own research into this ci ty’s p h o to gr a phic history. The strang en es s o f Ne w Orl eans is manifested i n th o r o ugh ly perv asiv e w ays: a so li ta ry tr o m bo n e note pl ayed by a teen a g er wa lk i n g dow n a darkened and em pty str e e t e c h oes off a brick w al l and r a ttles th e b o n e s ; the l ow -hanging hu m i d a i r p e r m e a te s the skin, carrying with i t the fe c un d sc ent of sweet v egetation a n d r e fus e ; a bandoned homes are rapi d ly swa llo we d up by sw arming pl ant s ; a ll a r o un d a r e symbol s of ruin and ren ewa l. Ne w Or le ans’ strangeness resides i n i ts a b i li ty to f u nction, ev en to excel , w i thi n th e p ush and pu l l of confl icting fo rces . Te r r i f y i n g things can al so be seducti v e, th e r e p ulsiv e intoxicating, and the i llo gi c a l, i f you sit with it l ong eno u g h, be c o m e s logical . An d in this l and of contradicti o n s , p h o to gr a phy’s own contradictions ha v e fo un d a h appy and natural home. Pa s t a n d p r e sent, and l ife and deat h a ll i n e x p li c a bl y coexist in the w orld s o f Ne w Or leans and photography. T he m a gn e ti c pul l of this city has comp elled p h o to gr a phers throughou t histo ry to tr y to e n gage w ith these contradicti o n s , to e x p lo r e them throu gh the fra m e o f p h o to graphic representation. In do i n g s o , they hav e crafted a pa ra llel vi s ua l h i story bu il t upon the inheren t c o n tr a di c tions of photography. T hi s bo o k m a r ks a new moment w ithin thi s c o n f li c te d history, a moment that i s a t o n c e a n e nd and a new beginning.

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Introduction and commentary d. Eric BOOKhardt

Th e r e h a ve been many changes i n the a r t wo r ld since the great French po et a n d a r t c ritic, Charl es Baudel aire, i n 1859 o p i n ed: “A v engeful god has g i v en e a r to th e prayers of the mu l t i tu d e. Da gue r r e w as his Messiah.” It w as qu i te a p r o n o uncement considering tha t hi s c lo s e fr i e nd, Nadar, was a charism a ti c a va ta r o f the art form Dag u erre i n ve n te d. Ev en so, Baudel aire’s d i s d a i n fo r p h o to graphy’s optical real ism wa s un a p o lo ge tic: “It is usel ess to repr es en t wh a t e x i s ts, because nothing that exi s ts sa ti sfi e s me… I prefer the monst ers o f m y f a n ta sy to what is positiv el y tri v i a l. ” Clearly Baudelaire was unfamiliar wi th L o uisiana, w here real mon s ters r i va l th o se of his imagination, a n d wh e r e bo th nature and cu l ture d i s pla y a n i n n a te propensity for the fanta s ti c. He r e th e boundaries between the n a tur a l e nv ironment and the ps yche a r e s o a morphou s that another g rea t 19th c e n tury writer, Lafcadio H ea rn , de s c r i b e d it as a pl ace “w here al l thi n g s se e m to d ream.” And w hil e pre s ci en t i n m a n y ways, Bau del aire n ev er a n ti c i p a te d the adv ent of the surr ea l o r m a gi c r e a list photography that wo u ld e ve n tua lly be seen in the work of arti s ts suc h a s Man Ray or Hans Be llm er,

m u ch les s Lo u i s i a n a ’s o wn C la r e n c e Jo hn La u g hli n , E. J. B ello cq o r G e o r g e Du rea u . T he wo rk s o f thes e la tter ar t i s t s a re es peci a lly relev a n t a s precu rs o r s o f the v i s i o n a ry i m a g es co n ta i n ed i n t h e po rtfo li o s ecti o n o f thi s v o lu m e, fo r t h e y i llu s tra te ho w s u rrea li s m a n d m a g i c rea li s m ca n s ha re u n li k ely a ffi n i ti es w i t h d o cu m en ta ry pho to g ra phy i n a re g i o n where bo th n a tu re a n d cu ltu re ca n b e o therwo rldly a n d where the bo u n d a r i e s between a rt a n d li fe ca n s eem u n u s ua l l y po ro u s . In d eed , the i co n i c N ew O r l e a n s m i n g li n g o f Fren ch, A fri ca n , S pa n i s h a n d S i ci li a n , a m o n g o ther ethn i c i t i e s , s o m eho w en g en dered a n u n u s ua l l y celebra to ry C reo le cu ltu re tha t be c a me k n o wn fo r the extra o rd i n a ry s pect a c l e s tha t s ti ll flo u ri s h a lo n g s i d e the n ot a b l y m o re pro s a i c pu rs u i ts tha t cha ra ct e r i z e the li fe o f ci ti es . H ere s o m ethi n g i n the l o c a l DN A i m pels peo ple to wa rd fa n ta s t i c a l m o des o f expres s i o n ra n g i n g f r o m the rem a rk a ble ri tu a ls o f Ma rd i Gr a s In di a n s , B a by Do lls a n d S k u ll a n d B o n es s o ci eti es to cu ri o u s ly whi ms i c a l a rchi tectu re, m a s k ed celebrat i o n s a n d s o ci o - a es theti c ha ppen i n g s o f a l l s o rts . In thi s m i li eu , 1 9 th cen tu ry N e w O rlea n s Ma rd i G ra s a rti s ts s u c h a s 11


th e Swe dish expatriate Bror An ders W i k s tr o m fou nd a sympathetic aud i en ce fo r flo a t and costu me designs tha t o fte n p a r al l el ed the work of l ea d i n g Fr e n c h Symbol ist painters l ike G us ta v e M o r e a u a nd Odil on Redon, thems elv es th e s p i r i tual descendants of Baud ela i re a n d th e a rtistic forebears of the 2 0 th c e n tur y s u rreal ists. (Redon himse lf wa s bo r n to F r ench Louisianians, but t ha t i s a n o th e r s tory.) As for D aguerre, one of hi s stude n ts , the bril l iant Afro-Pa ri s i a n Cr e o le , J ul es Lion, settl ed in N ew Or le a n s where he w ent on to be co m e n o t o n ly one of America’s fi rs t p h o to gr a phers, but al so America’s fi rs t bla c k p h otographer and the foun di n g fa th e r o f a prol ific progeny of Loui s i a n a p h o to gr a phic artists. Tal ented in m a n y m e di a , L ion was know n not on ly fo r h i s da guerreotypes bu t al so for hi s p a i n ti n gs of prominent persons , a n d e s p e c i a lly for his l ithographs, whi ch e n c o m p a ssed such unu sual su bjects a s h i s series il l u strating bi z a rre m e di c a l anomal ies. Considering tha t so m a n y of his l ithographs w ere ba s ed o n da guerreotype original s, w e ca n o n ly sur m ise how many photogr a phi c wo n de r s might hav e emerged from hi s studi o o n ly to subseq u entl y v ani s h i n th e m i s ts of history after his dea th i n 1866, i n the chaotic aftermath o f the Ci vi l W a r . I t i s a qu estion that retur n s u s to th e c haracteristics of “v ision a ry” p h o to gr a phy in its v ariou s fo rm s . Alth o ugh sometimes appl ied to o utsi de r artists, the term “v isi o n a ry a r t” h a s historical l y denoted ima g es th a t we r e “fantastical ” or otherwo rldly, fo r i n s ta n ce the w orks of Hieron ym u s B o s c h a n d Wil l iam Bl ake as wel l a s the B r i ti s h Pre-Raphael ite and Eur o pea n sy m b o li st painters. In 20th ce n tu ry

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a rt i t i s a term tha t ca n a pply eq ua l l y to certa i n da da i s ts a n d s u rrea l i s t s s u ch a s Ma x Ern s t a n d R en é Ma g r i t t e a s well a s a rti s ts fro m o ther s ch o o l s i n clu d i n g Pa blo Pi ca s s o , Jo a n M i r ó a n d Fra n ci s B a co n . C o n tem po r a r y v i s i o n a ry a rt i n clu d es the s u r r e a l , ps ychedeli c o r m a g i c rea li s t wo rks o f Fred To m a s elli , R o s s B leck n er , E d Pa s chk e, A l H eld , Ja cqu eli n e B is h o p a n d Do u g la s B o u rg eo i s to n a m e a f e w , bu t i n pho to g ra phy the term ha s b e e n u s ed m o re ten ta ti v ely, perha ps bec a us e o f the m edi u m ’s hi s to ri ca l i d en ti fi c a t i o n wi th rea li s m . Unlike cinematography, which g rew out of the 1 9 th ce n t ur y i llu s i o n i s t tra d i ti o n —G eo rg es M é l i è s wa s a m a g i ci a n befo re he beca m e a fi lm m a k er—s ti ll pho to g ra phy was i n i ti a lly pri z ed fo r i ts ev i dent i a r y pro perti es , the Da g u errei a n rea l i s m s o a bho rred by B a u d ela i re. E ve n ea rly “a rti s ti c” pho to g ra phy a d h e r e d to the co n to u rs o f the rea l, al b e i t wi th the s o ft fo cu s a tm o s pheri c s o r s tyli z ed co m po s i ti o n s em plo yed by t h e pa i n ters o f the peri o d . As i de from a few i n v en ti v e experi m en ts s u ch a s A l vi n La n g do n C o bu rn ’s ea rly 2 0 th ce n t ur y “V o rto g ra phs , ” the fi rs t co n s ci o us l y v i s i o n a ry exa m ples o f pho to g r a p h y to a ppea r i n a n y n u m bers a ro s e out o f the Fren ch s u rrea li s t m o v em en t of t h e 1 9 2 0 s a n d 1 9 3 0 s , a n d to o k i ts cu es f r o m em erg i n g n o ti o n s o f the s u bco n s c i o us ps yche a s well a s fro m the m o nt a g e techn i qu es pi o n eered by the ea r l i e r Eu ro pea n d a d a i s ts . Fo r the fi rs t t i me the drea m li k e reces s es o f the i n n e r l i f e beca m e a s u bject fo r the ca m era ’s l e n s , s o i t co m es a s n o s u rpri s e tha t C la r e n c e Jo hn La u g hli n , a pi o n eer Am e r i c a n expo n en t o f v i s i o n a ry pho to g rap h y , s ta g ed hi s fi rs t N ew Yo rk exhi b i t i o n i n 1 9 4 0 a t the Ju li en Lev y G a lle r y , a


Clarence John Laughlin Elegy for the Old South (No. 6), 1962 Silver Gelatin Photograph Copyright The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Like Frida Kahlo, Laughlin often employed a magic realist approach that mingled dreamlike spatiotemporal distortions with elements of personal mythology and a distinct sense of place. 13


sur r e a li st hotbed fav ored by Man R a y, M a r c e l Duchamp, Joseph Cornel l a n d Fr i da Ka hl o. And l ike Kahl o, Lau g hli n o fte n e m p loyed a magic real ist appro a ch th a t m i n gled dreaml ike spatio-tempo ra l di sto r ti o n s with el ements of pers o n a l m y th o lo gy and a distinct sens e o f p la c e . Am erican v isionary photog ra phy wo uld th e nceforth encompass bot h the p s y c h o -c e rebral l egacy of the surr ea li s t p h o to gr a phers and a more magic rea li s t a p p r o a c h that mingl ed a heighten ed se n se o f p l ace with the dreamy nar ra ti v e i n f lue n c e s of the symbol ist and ima g i s t tr a di ti o n s . Th ose two currents, surre a li s m a n d m a gi c real ism, continu e to in fo rm c o n te m p o rary American v isi o n a ry p h o to gr a phy. The neo-su rrea li s ts br o a dly i ncl ude artists as div ers e a s J e r r y U e lsmann, Jamie Bal dridge a n d L uc a s Sa maras, whil e the magic re a li s ts i n c lude Louisiana’s G eorge Durea u , De bbi e Fl eming Caffery and Jose phi n e Sa c a bo , a s wel l as Keith Carter, R a lph Gi b s o n , S al l y Mann, Ral ph Eu g en e M e a tya r d, Shel by Lee Adams and the e a r ly wo r k of Emmet G ow in. A cas e ca n a lso be m ade for the l ate Diane A rbu s , fo r a lth o u gh her photographs, li k e Ada m s ’ , were ostensibl y docu men ta ry i n te c h n i que, they are essential ly s o p s y c h o dr a matic as to al l but ex clu de c o m p a r i s o n w ith traditional s o ci a l do c um e n tary photographers l ike Wa lk er Eva n s o r Dorothea Lange. Others who sp a n i di o ms incl ude the l ate Frederi ck So m m e r as wel l as Duane Mich a ls , a p h o to gr a pher whose work, whil e ro o ted i n sur r e a li sm, al so conv eys a q u al i ty o f p e r s o n a l mythol ogy that encompa s s es m a gi c r e al ism as w el l . And whi le so m e c o n ceptu al photographers s u ch a s Ci n dy Sherman may su perfi ci a lly di sp la y p aral l el s with magic r ea li s t p h o to gr a phy, her w ork is so clo s ely

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li n k ed to po s tm o d ern s o ci a l phi lo so p h y tha t i t m u s t be s een a s em blem a ti c o f a pa rti cu la r theo reti ca l pra xi s ra ther t h a n a s a pers o n a l a es theti c m o du s . Wi th reg a rd to co n tem p o r a r y m a g i c rea li s t pho to g ra phers ’ w i d e l y s ha red ten d en cy to a ppea r ro o te d i n s peci fi c reg i o n s cha ra cteri z ed b y a po werfu l yet i n ti m a te s en s e o f pla ce , t w o g eo g ra phi c lo ca les em erg e a s prima r y epi cen ters . In the S o u thea s t, S a l l y Ma n n , Ra lph Eu g en e Mea tya rd a n d S helby Lee A d a m s , a s well a s the e a r l y wo rk s o f Em m et G o wi n , were a ll la r g e l y fo cu s ed o n the peo ple, cu ltu re a n d la n ds ca pe o f the Appa la chi a n reg i o n s o f V i rg i n i a a n d Ken tu ck y. B y co n tra s t , t h e Lo u i s i a n a lo wla n d s s pa wn ed the w o r k o f Debbi e Flem i n g C a ffery, G e o r g e Du rea u a n d Jo s ephi n e S a ca bo , w h i l e Kei th C a rter i s clo s ely a s s o ci a ted w i t h hi s ho m eto wn o f B ea u m o n t, T exa s, j us t a cro s s the Lo u i s i a n a li n e. It i s the w o r k o f thes e pho to g ra phi c a rti s ts , a s w e l l a s thei r a n teced en ts s u ch a s La u g hli n a n d B ello cq, tha t pro v i d es the ba ck g r o un d fo r the po rtfo li o s electi o n s o n t h e s e pa g es . S o wha t i s i t a bo u t thi s ci ty a n d i ts s u rro u n d i n g reg i o n tha t i mp e l s n a tu re a n d cu ltu re to wa rd the fa n tas t i c ? Pa rt o f i t m u s t ha v e to do wi th i t s i m pro ba bly a m phi bi o u s la n ds ca pe w h e r e m a n ’s “co n qu es t o f n a tu re” i s n o t o n l y u n u s u a lly ten u o u s bu t ba rely ext e n d s to the ci ty li m i ts . O r a s H ea rn n o t e d : “There a re reg i o n s o f the Lo u is i a n a co a s t who s e a s pect s eem s n o t of t h e pres en t bu t o f the i m m em o ri a l p a s t — o f tha t epo ch when lo w fla t reac h e s o f pri m o rd i a l co n ti n en t fi rs t ro s e i n t o fo rm a bo v e the S i lu ri a n s ea . ” Yet e ve n H ea rn —who a s o n e o f B a u d el a i r e ’ s fi rs t Am eri ca n tra n s la to rs wa s aw a r e o f the pa ra llels between Lo u is i a n a a n d the Fren ch po et’s i m a g i n a ti o n —


Joshua Mann Pailet Electric Light Bayous, near New Orleans, LA, 1979 Silver Gelatin Photograph

“There are regions of the Louisiana coast whose aspect seems not of the present but of the immemorial past—of that epoch when low flat reaches of primordial continent first rose into form above the Silurian sea.” -Lafcadio Hearn 15


Even domestic interiors can take on the quality of a palimpsest, reflecting the watermarked patinas of decades of habitation in places where aqueous incursions are a way of life.

Tina Freeman 20100117 Dawn DeDeaux 135, 2010 Archival Pigment Print

n e ve r p r e dicted that the sea w o u ld tr y s o str enu ou sl y to take it back. H i s wr i ti n gs did at l east obl iqu el y articu la te wh a t m a n y observ ers sense, that wa ter p la ys a s i gnificant rol e not onl y in N ew Or le a n s ’ unu sual l y intimate rel atio n s hi p wi th n a ture bu t al so w ith its col lecti v e p s y c h e . For water is an el emen ta l c o n s ta n t that has l ong been tho u g ht to p o sse s s a profound rel ationshi p to dr e a m s a nd the imagination, a n o ti o n th a t a ssumes special significance i n a p la c e wh ere the hu midity can e n d o w e ve n th e most ordinary percepti o n s 16

wi th a n a m bi g u o u s , m i ra g e- li k e qua l i t y , a n d where ev en d o m es ti c i n teri o r s c a n ta k e o n the qu a li ty o f a pa li m p s e s t , reflecti n g the wa term a rk ed pa ti n a s o f d eca d es o f ha bi ta ti o n i n pla ces w h e r e a qu eo u s i n cu rs i o n s a re a wa y o f li f e . Wa ter’s o therwo rld ly i n flu e n c e ha s been n o ted i n n u m ero u s li t e r a r y a n d phi lo s o phi ca l wo rk s , perha ps mo s t tho ro u g hly i n G a s to n B a chel a r d ’ s Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter : “T o di s a p p e a r i n to d eep wa ter o r to d i s a ppea r tow a r d a fa r ho ri z o n , to beco m e pa rt o f t h e


Richard McCabe Abandoned Citgo Gas Station, 2010 Archival Pigment Print from 120mm Film Negative

It is not uncommon for people to feel as if they inhabit an alternate reality where tropical plant and animal species, as well as the waking dreams of the restless collective imagination, run rampant. 17


de p th o f i nfinity, such is the dest i n y o f m a n th a t finds its image in the d es ti n y o f wa te r ... Throu gh dreams w ater co m es to si gn i f y that most distant of hom es , a c e le s ti a l o ne.” I n a pl ace where the ti da l i m m e n si ti es not onl y of the amphi bi o u s e n vi r o n m e nt bu t al so of the psyche lo o m la r ge , i t is not u ncommon for p eo ple to fe e l a s if they inhabit an al te rn a te r e a li ty wh ere tropical pl ant and an i m a l sp e c i e s , a s wel l as the w aking dream s o f th e r e stle ss col l ectiv e imagination , ru n r a m p a n t. He re ev en wel l bu il t struc tu res , m a n y r e fl ecting the 19th ce n tu ry o bse s si o n w ith neocl assical or exo ti c m o ti f s, quickl y appear ru inous i f left un a tte n de d for ev en rel ativ el y bri ef p e r i o ds o f time. If su ch circumsta n ces a r e ge n e r al l y counter to most tradi ti o n a l Eur o -Am e rican notions of civ i li z ed o r de r a n d probity, the city’s inc i pi en t wi ldn e ss has prov en u nusu al l y cat a lyti c fo r a r ti s ts and w riters ranging fro m Edga r De gas, w hose v ision wou l d n ev er be th e s ame after his extended s ta y wi th h i s maternal Creol e rel ation s , a n d W a lt W h i tman, w ho according t o hi s bi o gr a p h e rs attained his first pro fo u n d p o e ti c i n sights here, to nov eli s ts , p la ywr i gh ts and mu sicians ran g i n g fr o m W i lliam Faul kner and Tennes s ee W i lli a m s to Bob Dyl an. Pr i or to the 1950s, most N ew Or le a n i a n s w ere onl y diml y awar e tha t th e i r c ulture was any different from o ther Am e r i c a n cities, but w hen the adv en t o f te le vi s i o n drov e the point home the re wa s i n i ti a lly much l amenting that the ci ty’s “ o th e r n e s s” might prov e probl em a ti c. So m e bus iness l eaders ev en adv o ca ted e m ula ti n g the more “progressiv e” N ew So uth c a p ital s of Hou ston, Dal l a s a n d Atla n ta , but al l that began to cha n g e by th e e a rl y 197 0s w hen New O rlea n s

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redi s co v ered i ts extra o rd i n a ry her i t a g e i n the fo rm o f i ts fo o d, m u s i c a n d vi s ua l cu ltu re, u n lea s hi n g a ren a i s s a n ce t h a t co n ti n u es to thi s da y. It wa s a ti m e w h e n a n ew wa v e o f pho to g ra phers i n clud i n g Mi cha el P. S m i th, Da v i d Ri chm o n d , O wen Mu rphy, Jo s ephi n e S a c a b o , T i n a Freem a n , Jo s hu a Ma n n P a i l e t , B a rry Ka i s er, R i ck O li v i er, a n d K e i t h C a lho u n a n d C ha n d ra McC o rm i c k, a m o n g o thers , pla yed a cru ci a l ro l e i n fa ci li ta ti n g thi s rebi rth by di li g e n t l y reco rd i n g the m o re u n i qu e a s pec t s o f the ci ty’s phys i ca l a n d cu ltu ra l la n dsc a p e whi le i n fo rm a lly es ta bli s hi n g w h a t m i g ht be deem ed a N ew O rlea n s s c h o o l o f d o cu m en ta ry pho to g ra phy tha t h a s o n ly g ro wn la rg er a n d m o re a cti v e o ve r the yea rs —s o m u ch s o tha t i t wo u ld n o w requ i re a m a jo r to m e i n i ts o wn ri g h t t o pro perly do i t ju s ti ce. The s u bs equ en t v i s i on a r y pho to g ra phy efflo res cen ce of the la te 1 9 70 s thro u g h the pres ent — a n a ppro a ch tha t fo cu s es o n the i n t e r i o r cha ra cteri s ti cs o f the pla ce a n d i t s i n ha bi ta n ts —to s o m e exten t g rew o ut o f thi s tra di ti o n . G eo rg e Du rea u w a s a n es ta bli s hed N ew O rlea n s pa i n ter k n o w n fo r hi s ca rn i v a les qu e ta blea u x whe n h e beg a n do cu m en ti n g hi s hetero g en e o us a s s o rtm en t o f m o dels , a typi c a l l y m a le and o ften A fri ca n - A m e r i c a n ca s t o f m u s cle bo ys a n d m i d g e t s , a m pu tees a n d o cca s i o n a l v o lu pt uo us wo m en , a ll ren dered wi th hu m a ni s t i c co m pa s s i o n . In thi s he res em bled h i s pho to g ra phi c fo rebea r, E. J. B el l o c q , who s e pho to g ra phs o f the wo me n o f the ea rly 2 0 th cen tu ry S to ry vi l l e bo rd ello di s tri ct rev ea led a s i mi l a r l y pla yfu l, i f ps ycho lo g i ca l, ev o ca ti o n o f hi s s u bjects ’ i n n er li v es , a n d who s e o w n li fe wa s la ter i m m o rta li z ed i n L o ui s Ma lle’s po werfu lly ev o ca ti v e 1 9 78 f i l m Pretty Baby . U n li k e B ello cq, Du r e a u’ s


sta r tli n g body of w ork has gar n ered glo b a l a c cl aim in his own l ifetime a n d m a de a n indel ibl e impression on o n e o f h i s a s sistants in the 1970s, a yo u n g m a n n a m e d Robert Mappl ethorpe who wo uld p a rl ay w hat he l earned i n to a sto r i e d c a reer of his ow n. Si mil arl y, Josephine Sac a bo ’s i n i ti a l photoj ou rnal istic impetu s e ve n tua lly ev ol v ed into a focus on the i n n e r li f e of her subj ects j ust as Debbi e Fle m i n g C affery’s docu mentary v iews o f L o ui s i a n a sugar pl antations grad u a lly e vo lve d i nto a more subj ectiv e v i s i o n e n c o m p a ssing the psyche of not o n ly h e r sub je cts but al so the v erdan t yet c o m p li c a ted l andscape they inhabi ted. As e x p onents of photogra phi c i n te r i o r i ty, D u reau, Caffery and Sa c a bo e l aborated on the l ega cy o f Cla r e n c e John Lau ghl in, for whom a ll

pho to g ra phy wa s do cu m en ta ti o n , t h e pri m a ry v a ri a ble bei n g the o bjective o r s u bjecti v e i n ten t o f the pho to g ra p h e r ’ s qu es t. Pho to g ra phy’s po ten ti a l to pen etra te the qu a n ti ta ti v e d i m ens i o n s o f the wo rld a ro u n d u s wi th a mo r e s u bjecti v e explo ra ti o n o f i ts el us i ve i n n er es s en ce i s wha t i n s pi red t h i s bo o k , Inventing Reality: New Orleans A lth o ug h Visionary Photography . s o m e o f the fea tu red i m a g es m i g h t b e d es cri bed a s d o cu m en ta ry i n a s t r i c t s en s e, a ll a re reflecti o n s o f the s h a r e d i n n er li fe o f bo th the pho to g ra pher a n d hi s o r her s u bjects . Ma n y a ls o r e ve a l a s u bjecti v e qu a li ty o f li g ht tha t g o e s beyo n d the term “lu m i n o s i ty” a s i t i s techn o lo g i ca lly u n ders to o d , a n d i s mo r e a k i n to wha t Wa lter B en ja m i n de e me d the “a u ra ” o f a pa i n ti n g a s a n expres s i o n

George Dureau was an established New Orleans painter known for his carnivalesque tableaux when he began documenting his heterogeneous assortment of models, a typically male and often African-American cast of muscle boys and midgets, amputees and occasional voluptuous women, all rendered with humanistic compassion. George Dureau Untitled (Sonny Singleton R), late 1970s Silver Gelatin Photograph Courtsey of Arthur Roger Gallery

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Debbie Fleming Caffery’s documentary views of Louisiana sugar plantations gradually gave way to a more subjective vision encompassing the psyche of not only her subjects but also the verdant yet complicated landscape they inhabited.

Debbie Fleming Caffery Polly Joseph, 1985 Silver Gelatin Photograph

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o f i ts élan vital , an outl ook shar ed by M a r c e l Duchamp w ho argued tha t “a p i c tur e , a w ork of art, l iv es and d i es just a s we do.” Light, after al l , has been i n e x tr i c a b ly l inked to l ife itsel f in texts r a n gi n g from the Book of G enes i s to th e wr i ti n gs of Cl arence John Lau g hli n , wh o p r o c laimed that, “the mind , a n d th e h e a r t al ike, of the photogr a pher m us t be dedicated to the gl ory, the m a gi c , a n d mystery of l ight.” This n ea rm e ta p h y s i cal q u al ity of l umino s i ty e luc i da te s the space of rev erie in the vi s i o n a r y photograph, w hereas the li gh t th a t d efines the terrain of cl as s i ca l do c um e n tary photography il l umin a tes th e sp a c e of history, cu l ture and so ci ety a t la r ge . Both deal w ith aspec ts o f r e a li ty, y e t it is the v isionary perspecti v e th a t m o st definitiv el y il l ustra tes th e sub jectiv e nature of perc ei v ed r e a li ti e s a s situ ational constru ct s . O r a s F r e de r ick Sommer once pu t it: “Li fe i ts e lf i s n ot the real ity. We are the o n es wh o p ut li fe into stones and pebbl es . ” I n fact, al l of the real ities tha t we ty p i c a ll y take for granted, as well a s th o se w e do not, w ere constru cted fo r p a r ti c u l ar purposes. It is usefu l fo r us a ll to agree upon certain norm a ti v e a p p r o a c h e s to appearances in ev e ryd a y li f e i f fo r no other reason than tha t th e s o c i a l constructs essential to the c o n ti n ue d fu nctioning of soc i eti es a n d n a ti o ns depends on it. The bes t p h o to jo ur nal ism and docu men ta ry i m a ge r y e mpl oys this consensus a s a p la tfo r m w hil e conv eying an a d d ed r e so n a n c e of drama, irony or ev en a we, a n d th e c r ucial rol e su ch images pla y a s th e m i r r o r—or ev en the conscienc e—o f so c i e ty sh oul d nev er be u nderestim a ted. B ut n o w that anyone w ith a good cell p h o n e c a n take a sharp digital pic tu re, a n d th e worl d is increasingl y satu ra ted wi th wh a t amounts to a v ast expan s i o n

o f pho to g ra phi c do cu m en ta ti o n , t h i s m a y be a n es peci a lly a pt ti m e to t a ke a clo s er lo o k a t the pho to g ra p h i c m ed i u m ’s i n n er m o d a li ti es . Fo r w h i l e the co n v en i en ce o f di g i ta l pho to g r a p h y ha s been i n m a n y wa ys a bo o n , i t h a s a ls o helped to crea te a dem a n d fo r mo r e po eti ca lly pro bi n g a ppro a ches tha t i n pra cti ce o ffer u n i qu e rewa rds fo r t h e ti m e co n s u m i n g la bo r requ i red by t h e i r s lo wer a n d m o re m ed i ta ti v e techn i q ue s . Fo r i n s ta n ce, fo rm erly a r c h a i c ti n type, pho to g ra v u re a n d wet p l a t e co llo di o n pro ces s es ha v e a tta i n e d n ew res o n a n ce i n a n a g e o f d i g i t a l i n s ta n ta n ei ty ev en a s thei r deplo y me n t by the a d heren ts o f a ltern a ti v e s o c i a l m o v em en ts may s o m eti m es seem s u rpri s i n g . Yet s u ch techn i qu es a r e n o lo n g er s peci fi c to the rea lm o f his t o r y o r n o s ta lg i a n o w tha t a ll to n a li ti e s o f li g ht a n d m o d a li ti es o f d epi cti o n a r e pa rt o f a bro a d s pectru m o f n ew a n d o ld , d i g i ta l a n d a n a lo g pho to g rap h i c res o u rces . A ltho u g h the wo rk s i n t h e po rtfo li o po rti o n o f thi s bo o k fa ll i n t o di v ers e ca teg o ri es a n d reflect a va r i e d a rra y o f a ppro a ches , m o s t a re i n v o l ve d wi th n o ti o n s o f i den ti ty a n d the i n t e r rela ti o n a l n a tu re o f, n o t o n ly percep t i o n , bu t a ls o the phys i ca l, ps ychi c a n d s o c i a l eco lo g y o f the peo ple, pla ces a n d o b j e c t s s een here. A ll reflect a s pects o f t h e cha ra cter o f thi s ci ty a n d i ts i n ha bi t a n t s , a s well a s the wi ldly a m phi bi o u s re g i o n i n whi ch i t i s s i tu a ted.

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E2 (KLEINVELD & JULIEN)

Th e c h a rged topics of race a n d ge n de r a ppear in a context of a rt h i s to r i c a l time trav el in the E2 s eri es o f c o lla bo rativ e photographs of Epa u l J uli e n a n d El izabeth Kl einv el d. Thes e wo r k s c a me about w hen the tw o N ew Or le a n s n ativ es were working together o n th e Before During After (Louisiana Photographer’s Respond to Hurricane Katrina) proj ect, initial l y as a respo n s e to th e i neq u al ities exposed by the a dve n t o f the storm. The resulti n g p h o to gr a phs comprise a pl ayful ly yet go r ge o us ly execu ted re-v isionin g o f a r t h i sto r y. Spanning al most 600 yea rs o f Eur o p ean paintings, the series wa s ba s e d o n masterworks such as V a n Ey c k ’ s Arnolfini Marriage portra i t, Da vi d’ s Death of Marat and Man et’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe .

O d e t o Va n E y c k ’s Arnolfini Marriage 2012 Archival Pigment Print O d e t o R a p h a e l ’s Bindo Altoviti 2012 Archival Pigment Print Remaking Marat 2011 Archival Pigment Print O de to Aman s’ Creole in a Red Headdress 2012 Archival Pigment Print O d e t o M a n e t ’s D é j e u n e r s u r l’herbe 2012 Archival Pigment Print

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NICOL A KREBILL

Ni c o la K rebil l ’s col orfu l l y myste ri o u s p h o to gr a phs are part of a l ong- term p r o je c t b ased on New Orl eans pa ra d e c ultur e . Al thou gh there is nothi n g un usua l about their u nder lyi n g c o n c e p t or the technol ogy emplo yed i n th e i r execution, these ima g es tr a n s c e n d our usu al expecta ti o n s o f ja zz funeral s, Mardi G ras or A ll Sa i n ts Day processions. This cit y ha s h i s to r i c a ll y been comprised of a div ers e a sso r tm e n t of cu l tures and subcul tu res , a n d i n th e words of National P u bli c Ra di o r e porter Ann Pow ers, “E v ery b o h e m i a is, in fact, an entire uni v ers e c o n str uc ted by the sel f-sel ected few. Ne w Or leans has dozens.” Al tern a ti v e c ultur e s bring their ow n perform a n ce a r t e th o s to this city’s traditi o n a l r i tua ls, a nd in the process— at lea s t i n th e e vocativ el y rendered insta n ces s e e n h e r e — their efforts u nexpected ly r e c a ll th e origins of the ancient cu lts o f Di o n y su s and the G reco-Rom a n c a r n i va ls of yore. Vi L an dr y Ja z z Fun e ral 2008 Archival Pigment Print Día de Muertos 2008 Archival Pigment Print Día de Muertos 2011 Archival Pigment Print 28


DINAH DINOVA

Di n a h Di Nov a’s Tin, Sin & Kinship se r i e s uti l izes 19th centu ry w et pla te c o llo di o n processes to expl ore a n d do c um e n t al ternativ e cu l tural mili eu s i n Ne w Orl eans and rel ated enc la v es e lse wh e r e , communities that hail f ro m , a s s h e p uts it, “a l ong l ine of soc i ety’s m i sfi ts who prou dl y carry on the l in ea g e o f h o b o s , qu eers, dev iant artists, street m us i c i a n s, sex w orkers, anarch i s ts , sub ve r si ves and surv iv ors,” as well a s th e settings that comprise thei r n a tur a l h abitat. The l ong expos u res , m ur k y li ght and fl u id emul sions o f her c h o se n mediu m propel the inheren t a m b i gui ty of her su bj ects and thei r o th e r wo r ldl y settings into a twi li g ht r e a lm o f perception that chal l en g es th e vi e wer to enter their worl d a n d c o n f r o n t the mysteries of their s elfde f i n e d e xistence.

Crick Shake 2011 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n T i n t y p e The Crow Quill Night Owls (with imposter) 2010 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n T i n t y p e The Grande 2009 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n T i n t y p e 32


Louviere + Vanessa

Th e se m i xed media photographs by Vanessa Brown and Jeff Louviere reflect th e i r s e lf-described fascination wi th th e m e s o f “dual ity and paradox, bea u ty a s h o r r o r , creation as destruction , the p e r so n a l as a u niv ersal ,” and reflect th e i r vi e w that their chosen me di u m i s i tse lf more important than any o n e p h o to be cau se “the radical mecha n i cs o f p h o to graphy” cau sed them “to c o n si de r the making of images.” In thi s th e y f i n d inspiration in a mu l tip li ci ty o f te c h n i qu es incl u ding the u s e o f Ho lga c a meras, 8mm fil m, gol d, r es i n , wa x , b lo o d and destroyed negatives i n wo r k s th at extend the far horizo n s o f th e i r sh a r ed imagination. As l ongti m e p r a c ti ti o n ers of their own u niq u e fo rm o f vi si o n a ry photography, their wo rk r e f le c ts the perv asiv e ad hoc crea ti v i ty o f th e bohemian Byw ater dis tri ct th e y i n h a bit, to which they in tu rn c o n tr i b ute their own ceasel essl y wi d er a n gi n g c reativ ity.

H o w L o n g i s F o r e v e r i n D o g Ye a r s 2011 Archival Pigment Print on Mirror with Resin Let Them Eat Kingcake 2009 Di bond, Gesso, Gold Leaf, Archival Pigment Print on Kozo and Resin Mare Nubium 2008 Di bond, Gesso, Gold Leaf, Archival Pigment Print on Kozo and Resin

36


GUS BENNE T T JR.

Gus B e n nett Jr.’s v isionary portra i ts we r e i n s pired by his observ ation s i n th e wa k e of Hu rricane Katrina a fter th e f a i le d federal l ev ee system left e n ti r e n e i g hborhoods fl ooded, dev o i d o f th e i r i nhabitants yet l ittered wi th th e de br i s of their former possess i o n s . M a n y o f the displ aced were Af ri ca n Am e r i c a n s, and their su dden absen ce i n sp i r e d a fl ashback to not onl y thei r f o r m e r ly cohesiv e communities bu t a ls o to the ancestors who had co m e b e fo r e , a l ineage extending fro m F r e n c h L ou isiana and its Caribbea n s i ste r c o lonies al l the way back to the c o a sta l r egions of Africa. In thes e i m a ge s a tel escopic sense of ti m e wi th a n i nfinite depth of fiel d appea rs c o m p r e ssed w ithin forms and tex tu res i n te r wo ve n with the fl esh, b lo o d a n d s o uls of a peopl e w hose sto ri ed r e s i li e n c e appears here as a l umin o u s qua li ty o f presence.

Bakthi 2005 Archival Pigment Print Chidi 2005 Archival Pigment Print Boudreaux 2005 Archival Pigment Print R o o m s I n M y M o t h e r ’s H o u s e 2006 Archival Pigment Print Storm 2006 Archival Pigment Print

40


KE VIN KLINE & BRUCE SCHULT Z

Th i s e n i gmatic A Stranger to Me s e r i e s o f photographs by Kev in K li n e a n d B r uc e Schul tz may su ggest the m usi n gs of a Creol e Man Ray or ma ybe a wh i m s i c al inv estigation of the in n a te s ur r e a li ty of identity. In fact, they a re th e r e sult of an el aborate col l abor a ti o n b e twe e n the tw o photographers a n d Kli n e ’ s longtime partner Brian, who a p p e a r s here. According to Kli n e, th e s e i mages comprise “a seri es o f o ve r size tintypes represe n ti n g th r o ugh a ll egory, metaphor and l i tera l f a b r i c a ti o n, 16 years of trying to k n o w s o m e o n e .” It began as a direct res u lt o f th i s c ity’s carniv al cu l ture when Kli n e p h o tographed Brian in a cotto n b a ll wi g left ov er from a Mardi G ra s c o s tum e . Intrigu ed by the idea o f a b la c k m a n wearing w hat resembl ed a n o ld ti m e j u dge’s wig, Kl ine conti n u ed his e x p l oration in col l abora ti o n wi th Sc h ul tz using a fishing ten t a s a c a m e r a obscura. Kl ine finds wet p la te c o llodion tintypes compe lli n g b e c a use they prov ide “a finite ima g e. . . Th e y ta k e a l ong time to make, an d i t ta k e s th e three of u s to make them . ” Th e r e s ulting 19 by 2 3 inch tin types r e p r e se n t a meditation on intimacy a n d th e c h a lle nges of hu man understan di n g .

‘beer-tab/hair-shirt’ 2013 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n Tint y p e ‘four loko reg ret s’ 2013 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n Tint y p e ‘st. claude diet’ 2013 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n Tint y p e ‘m r. h i g h p o c k e t s’ 2013 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n Tint y p e

‘man w ith hi s head in the cloud s’ 2013 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n Tint y p e 46


WALL ACE MERRIT T

I n sp i r e d by Oscar Wil de’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol , Wal l ace Merri tt p o n de r e d the fate of the poem’s cen tra l f i gur e , a prisoner w ho is condem n ed to h a n g, i n the context of Wil de’s o wn e x p e r i e n c es du ring his imprison m en t wi th two years of hard l abor. The res u lt wa s th i s Outcast series of ima g es , wh i c h m ay be v iew ed as a Wil d ea n m e di ta ti o n on the nature of per s o n a l suf fe r i n g in a context of confinem en t, o r a s a broader, more Foucauld i a n c o n te m p lation of “prison condit i o n s , un just la ws, and the responsibil ity o f p e o p le who pass j udgment,” or ev en a s a r um i n a tion on the rights of speci fi c gr o up s wi thin a context of hierarchi ca l so c i a l ge o metry. According to Merri tt, th e se i s sues, “combined w ith Wi lde’s m i x tur e o f real ity, symbol and fan ta s y, m e r ge d i n to Outcast .”

Beneath the leaden sky 2012 Archival Pigment Print Fettered limbs go lame 2012 Archival Pigment Print Into his numbered tomb 2012 Archival Pigment Print Te a r t h e t a r r y r o p e , 3 2012 Archival Pigment Print And body marred 2012 Archival Pigment Print

52


DEBOR AH LUSTER

L i k e Do stoyev sky, Deborah Luster i s c o n c e r n e d w ith crime and pu nishmen t, o n ly th e i ndiv idu al s seen in this One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana series were p h o to gr a phed du ring Mardi G ras a n d Ha llo we e n cel ebrations at the minim u m se c ur i ty Lou isiana Correct i o n a l I n s ti tute for Women in St. G abri el. Th e p la yful l y psychol ogical interacti o n be twe e n a rtist and su bj ect extend s the tr a di ti o n of cel ebratory empathy s een i n th e e a rl ier efforts of E. J. Be llo cq a n d Ge o rge D u reau, photograp hers wi th a s imil arl y hu manistic re g a rd fo r so c i e ty’s outsiders. As Lu s ter’s so m e ti m e col l aborator C. D. Wri g ht p ut i t: “ The perspectiv e was tha t e ve r y o n e is a whol e person, that they’re n o t just the su m of their w orst acts o r e ve n th e i r best acts.” Less whims i ca l y e t n o le ss poignant are Luster’s Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish series of photogr a phs o f m ur de r scenes. Striking for thei r c h a r ge d ordinariness, they refl e ct a c o n c e r n for capital crimes that da tes to h e r m other’s mu rder when she wa s a c h i ld. She considers this series to be “ ve r y much about the power o f p la c e a n d serv es as a chorograp hy, a m a p p i n g, as wel l as a witness to the c r um bli n g change of one of the w o rld’s m o st i n te resting and v ul nerabl e ci ti es fo llo wi n g the (post-Katrina) fed era l flo o ds o f 2005.” 58

To o t h f o r a n E y e : A C h o r o g r a p h y o f V i o l e n c e in Orleans Parish disarchive #06-06 L o c a t i o n : B a s i n a n d N o r t h C l a i b o r n e Av e n u e Date(s): Februar y 17, 2003 3:00 am N a m e ( s ) : L o n n i e Wa t s o n ( 2 6 ) Notes: Gunshot wound to the head. 2010 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n P r i n t To o t h f o r a n E y e : A C h o r o g r a p h y o f V i o l e n c e in Orleans Parish disarchive #06-16 L o c at i on : 2 4 0 0 Nor th Vi l l e re St re e t ( St . Roch) Date(s): January 10, 1993; January 18, 1993: June 13, 2009, 1 a.m.; November 17, 2008 Name(s): Jermaine White (20); Brother Emerson (17); Leroy Harris (19); Kendrick Thomas (22) 2010 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n P r i n t To o t h f o r a n E y e : A C h o r o g r a p h y o f V i o l e n c e in Orleans Parish disarchive #01-04 L o c a t i o n : 1 0 0 1 N o r t h C l a i b o r n e Av e n u e , R o o s e v e l t ’s B l a c k P e a r l Date: September 9, 2004 N a m e ( s ) : J o h n n y “ Te e ” S t o v a l l ( 5 3 ) ; W i l l i a m “Bill” Lindsey (41); Glenda Lockett (45); D i a n e Va r i s t e ( 4 8 ) Notes: Multiple gunshot and stab wounds. R e s t a u r a nt r o b b e r y. 2008 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n P r i n t One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana L . C . I . W, S t . G a b r i e l , L o u i s i a n a Zelphea Adams doc # 404954 dob 12.19.71 pob New Orleans sentence - 25 years 3 children work - housekeeping Mardi Gras Parade 2001 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n o n P r e p a r e d A l u m i n u m One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana L . C . I . W, S t . G a b r i e l , L o u i s i a n a Ebony Ellis doc # 366050 dob 3.22.73 pob New Orleans sentence - 10 years 3 children work - inner yard, tablecloth ironer Halloween Haunted House 2000 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n o n P r e p a r e d A l u m i n u m


Sandr a RUSSELL CL ARK

Sa n dr a Russel l Cl ark’s Traces ser i es o f fo un d i m a ges represent a col l abor a ti o n be twe e n the original photographer a n d sub je c t, mediated by time, and then r e c o n te x tu al ized by Cl ark. Al tho u g h they may have originally served to record a bi r th da y or engagement, or perha ps e ve n s o me professional w ork a d a y p ur p o se , they assu med after death a se c o n d li fe on memorial markers, bu t n o w a c c o rding to Cl ark, “discl os e a n i n n e r sp i r it and v igor and al so r ev ea l a p sy c h o logical intricacy in the sitter’s e x p r e ssi o n, l eav ing us to ponder thei r p e r s o n a l story and how they may ha v e li ve d...” Consequ entl y, “they not o n ly i n f o r m us of the past but al l ow u s to se e r e fle c tions of ou rsel v es today . ” As a r e sult of a redu ctiv e process, they be c o m e “ a portal between absence a n d p r e s e n c e , with time mov ing in o n e di r e c ti o n and memory in another. ”

Ve n e z i a n o . 1 1 6 8 2012 Archival Pigment Print Ve n e z i a n o . 1 3 2 7 2012 Archival Pigment Print Petroio no. 0442 2012 Archival Pigment Print Siena no. 0908 2012 Archival Pigment Print Ve n e z i a n o . 1 3 3 0 2012 Archival Pigment Print

64


LISettE de boisbl anc

L i s e tte de Boisbl anc’s X - ra y p h o to gr a phs of antiq u e dol l s are n o t o n ly e x tr a ordinary images in their o wn r i gh t but are al so part of a bro a d er n a r r a ti ve : “As a New Orl eans nati v e, I f e lt th e tragedy of Hurricane Katri n a p e r so n a lly; my famil y was profoun dly a ffe c te d b y the storm. We suffere d n o t o n ly th e loss of physical possessions bu t e n dur e d p sychol ogical damage as well. F o ur ye a r s after the storm I fou n d m y gr a n dm o ther’s ruined dol l col l ecti o n . Th e do lls had been submerged in w a ter f o r two weeks. I began to X-ray them a s o bje c ts to document and pres erv e. I wa s c ur iou s to see how the dam a g e lo o k e d o n the inside . I w as su rpri s ed b y wh a t I found w ithin—nail s, pi n s , h o o k s, s p rings hol ding them toge ther, lo st o b je cts, safety pins, and pi eces o f je we lr y. The dol l s hav e an a u ra th a t i s a l most human, with intern a l wo r k i n gs that chronicl e a l ife l ived , a s p i r i t. So metimes they hav e stre n g th; o th e r s, broken hearts. Making the p h o to gr a phs hel ped me mov e be yo n d m y gr i e f a nd gav e me some perspecti v e a bo ut th e peopl e in my l ife. The X - ra ys a r e n ’ t do c uments of decay and l os s bu t s to r i e s a bou t what can be recovered a n d s a ve d , what can be found, s een , a n d kept .”

Hiding 2011 Archival Pigment Print, X-ray Beaded 2010 Archival Pigment Print, X-ray I n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e Wa r d P a r t I 2009 Archival Pigment Print, X-ray I n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e Wa r d P a r t I I 2009 Archival Pigment Print, X-ray Madam 2010 Archival Pigment Print, X-ray

70


Jennifer Shaw

P a blo Pi c asso once said, “It took m e f o ur ye a r s to paint l ike Raphael, bu t a li f e ti m e to paint l ike a chil d.” Fo r a r ti sts , c hil dhood is the primordi a l ga r de n where their w orl d w as born a n d th e i r vi s i o n emerged u nfil tered by a d u lt c o n ve n ti o ns. As an artist and mo ther, J e n n i fe r Shaw gets to inhabit tha t wo r ld o n a dail y basis. “Presentl y m y li fe i s o ve r r un by exqu isite l ittl e crea tu res k n o wn a s chil dren. I document them i n th e i r natural habitats, from ci ty p la y gr o un ds to l azy riv ers, meanwhi le s te a li n g sidel ong gl ances at the deta i ls o f th o s e env ironments. Through the c a m e r a ’ s l ens I am transpor ted . . . tr a ve r s i n g the spaces between sha d o w a n d li ght, del ight and disqu i et, m e m o r i e s and real ity.”

Claudio with Bucket and Shovel 2007 Silver Gelatin Print Magazine Street with Capes 2011 Silver Gelatin Print M a s o n w i t h To w e l 2012 Silver Gelatin Print Te t h e r b a l l 2010 Silver Gelatin Print Cone 2009 Silver Gelatin Print

76


ANN MARYE GEORGE

An n Ge o r g e insists that her strik i n g ly o th e r wo r ldl y photographs a re gr o un de d in her dow n-home Lou i s i a n a up b r i n gi n g in a region characte ri z ed b y “ p i n e s traw and strong coffee, ca n e f i e lds a n d su ffocating summer nig hts , ” ye t a c a su al gl ance at these star tli n g i m a ge s shou l d be enough to di s pel a n y h i n t o f the agrarian hinterl ands o f Ha r p e r L ee or Eu dora Wel ty. Ins tea d , Ge o r ge p robes the depths of her o wn i n te r i o r landscape where an el eg a n t s ur r e a li ty and profou ndl y pagan s en s e o f p la c e a re ev ocativ e of the symb o li s t p o e ts a n d the magical recesses o f the p sy c h e where the atav istic precl ass i ca l le ga c i e s o f Hecate and Persephone s ti ll r e s i de . Here spectral beings and m ythi c di va s i n h abit a worl d between the wo r lds where time has no bound a ri es a n d s p a c e is a matter of conj ectu re.

R a v e n o n a Ta b l e 2012 Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Fine Art Photo Rag Paper with Oil G l a z e a n d Va r n i s h A Hundred Descendants From the Series “Evangeline Ref lected” 2011 Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Fine Art Photo Rag Paper with Oil G l a z e a n d Va r n i s h A Tr e s p a s s i n g From the Series “Evangeline Ref lected” 2012 Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Fine Art Photo Rag Paper with Oil G l a z e a n d Va r n i s h Ossabaw Offering 2011 Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Fine Art Photo Rag Paper with Oil G l a z e a n d Va r n i s h Sunshine of Saint Eulalie From the Series “Evangeline Ref lected” 2012 Archival Pigment Print on Cotton Fine Art Photo Rag Paper with Oil G l a z e a n d Va r n i s h

82


Josephine sacabo

Th i s se r i e s of photographs by Josephi n e Sa c a b o was inspired by the g rea t Br a zi li a n author Cl arice Lispecto r, wh o o n c e posed the qu estion: “An d a s f o r m us i c , after it’s pl ayed where d o es i t go ? ” Th e i mages seen here were cre a ted i n r e sp o n se to that q u estion, and a re ta k e n f r o m a l arger body of w ork ca lled Beyond Thought that Sacabo says wa s “ gui de d with exq u isite precision by her wr i ti n gs... She has l ed me to what I ca ll th e ‘ I wi sh I had my camera’ momen ts i n m y li f e – moments of experienci n g so m e th i n g before it is embodied i n a wo r d o r image – moments ‘be yo n d th o ugh t.’ S he found the w ords and I i n tur n f o un d an image for her words . I h o p e th e y ’v e done j u stice to the p o wer o f th e se n sations at their source. An d to Cla r i c e Lispector. I bel iev e in Art a s th e m eans of transcendence a n d c o n n e c ti o n. My images are simpl y wha t I ’ ve m a de from what I hav e been gi v en . Th e y a r e conceiv ed in gratitu de.”

Vi olin s 2012 Photogravure Discord 2013 Photogravure Harmony 2012 Photogravure Silence 2013 Photogravure A f t e r I t ’s P l a y e d 2013 Photogravure

88


EUPHUS RU TH

I n th e h a n ds of Eu phus Ru th, the la rg e f o r m a t wet pl ate col l odion pro ces s b e c o m e s a magical ritu al that en a bles h i m to e n ter his architectural su bjects ’ p a s ts a n d retu rn with metal l ic ev id en ce o f h i s ti me trav el s. Here time i ts elf b e c o m e s another col or on the ar ti s t’s p a le tte , o r as he puts it, “This pr o ces s e vo k e s th e mood and emotions of m y m i n d’ s e ye and often shows the s o u l o f i m a ge s that I striv e to portra y. I a m m o st intrigu ed photographi n g c e m e te r i e s, rural l andscapes and o ld a r c h i te c tu re. The pl aces of ru ral ru i n , ur b a n de cay, ol d structu res and c i ti es o f th e de ad are w here I hav e al wa ys b e e n c o m fortabl e behind the cam era a n d a r e the pl aces w here I en jo yed e x p lo r i n g and pl aying as a chil d.”

No Faith 2009 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n A m b r o t y p e Carondolet House 2011 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n A m b r o t y p e He Spoke of Birds 2010 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n A m b r o t y p e 94


MEG T URNER

Se ve n y e ars ago Meg Turner fi rs t e x p lo r e d the v ast, mol dering ru in s o f th e M a r k et Street Pow er Statio n , a massive and long silent former coal-fired e le c tr i c a l generating pl ant l ocated ju s t o f f Tc h o upitoul as Street near the r i v er. Sh e h a s been photographing it ev er s i n c e . L i k e a massiv e brick dungeo n o f Vi c to r i a n industrial design topped by two to we ring scabrou s smokestack s , i t h a s lo n g been an obj ect of fascin a ti o n a n d m yste ry. Al though often su bj ected to do c umentary scru tiny, it to o k Tur n e r ’ s archaic photograv u re te c h n i que to el icit a reciprocal tr em o r o f li f e f r o m the l ong dormant indus tri a l dr a go n s that l ay sprawl ing in ru s ti n g r e p o se b efore the l ens of her la rg e f o r m a t Crow n G raphic camera , a de vi c e s h e finds especial l y wel l su i ted to c a p tur i ng “the al ternativ e real ity o f n o n -f un c tioning spaces.” In a TimesPicayune newspaper articl e from 1 9 2 6 , sh e o n c e f ound a description of a to u r o f th e M arket Street Pow er Sta ti o n . Sh e sa ys s he dreams of “recreating thi s to ur so that ev eryone has a chance to ste p i n si de.”

Market Street Power Station 2010 Photogravure

Market Street Power Station #2 2010 Photogravure Market Street Power Station #3 2011 Photogravure 98


AK ASHA R ABU T

Th e s p a rkl ing interpl ay of int eri o r a n d e x te r ior pl anes of perception i n Ak a s h a Rabu t’s Big Windows seri es o f p h o to g raphs w as inspired by N ew Or le a n s au thor Nathan C. Ma rti n ’s sh o r t sto r y of the same name, as well a s b y th e w ork of Lou isiana v isio n a ry p h o to gr a pher Cl arence John Lau g hli n . Sh e c r e di ts Laughl in’s infl u ence wi th h e r de c i sion “to doubl e expose the fi lm a n d create the different l a yers a n d de p th that you see in this bo d y o f wo r k ,” an approach that refl ects “a p h ysi c a l and emotional intertwi n i n g o f th e r e al and the imagined” wi thi n th e quo ti dian fl ux of j oy and so rro w c o m m o n to al l peopl e. In that sens e the k a le i do sc opic j oyousness and w o n d er e x p r e sse d in these images refers to wh a t s h e deems our hu man poten ti a l fo r r e de m ptiv e emotional “warmth a n d c o n te n tm ent” that may ev en be f o u n d “ wi th i n a hol l ow of pain and agony. ”

Big Wind ow s # 1 2012 Chromogenic Print Big Wind ow s # 2 2012 Chromogenic Print Big Wind ow s # 3 2012 Chromogenic Print 102


FR ANK RELLE

An a n o nymous inebriated v ag ra n t r e s ti n g unsteadil y on the front s to o p o f a F r e nch Qu arter residence o n ce de sc r i b e d New Orl eans as “the city o f th e li vi n g dark.” It is a characteriz a ti o n th a t r i n gs true, for beyond the shado ws c a st b y p assing pedestrians the ci ty’s o s te n s i bly inanimate l andsca pe, i n c ludi n g its structu res and thei r s e tti n gs, can seem eeril y al iv e in the a m bi e n t light of streetl amps, pas s i n g c a r s a n d the moon. The prod u cts of un us ual l y el ongated expo s u re dur a ti o n s, Frank Rel l e’s noctu rn a l s tr e e ts c a p es suggest imagi s ti c m e m o r i e s l ost in time. Shimmering li k e b r i lli a n t mirages, they resonate si len t e c h o e s o f their el usiv e histories in the s p e c tr a l vagaries of their iridescence.

Brainard 2006 Archival Pigment Print Hampson 2007 Archival Pigment Print Te l e m a c h u s 2006 Archival Pigment Print 106


DAVID C. HALLIDAY

Kn o wn for stil l l ife tabl eau x tha t o f te n h a ve an al most painterl y q u a li ty a bo ut th e m, Dav id Hal l iday is on e o f th e f e w photographers w hose w o rk s a r e r o uti n el y compared to the mas ters o f th e ge nre ranging from Fran ci s co de Zur barรกn to G iorgio Mor a n d i . So m e th i n g abou t his u se of natural li g ht i m b ue s h i s su bj ects with a l anguor o u s ly e p i p h a n o u s qu al ity of presence, b u t a le s s h e r a lded facet of his oeuv re is the e n li ve n i n g au ra of su rreal ity seen o n th e s e p a ges, a kind of subl ime cu ri o s i ty c a bi n e t se nsibil ity that has occasion a lly c a us e d h i s images to be compare d to th e p r i s tine compositions of Jos eph Co r n e ll, a mong others. In these w o rk s , Ha lli da y rev iv ifies the el u siv e s en s e o f wo n de r that has inspired so m a n y o p ti c a l p i oneers and v isu al poets o v er th e a ge s .

Cruet & Eye 2003 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n P h o t o g r a p h Cauliflower 2000 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n P h o t o g r a p h Octopus 2000 To n e d S i l v e r G e l a t i n P h o t o g r a p h 110


ELIZ ABE TH SHANNON

Re ga r di n g her River Culture se ri es , Eli za be th Shannon says she v isuali z es “ th e r e a li ty and l ore” of a riv er’s fl u i d i ty “ a s a b a ckdrop and a refl ection o f th e sh i fting identities of hu ma n i ty. Th e r i ve r u nites otherw ise dispa ra te c h a r a c te r s... and is often u sed a s a m e ta p h o r for the broader aspects o f li f e . I wa s raised on the Atchaf a la ya Ri ve r a n d hav e l iv ed by the Missis s i ppi Ri ve r f o r most of my l ife. I continu e to be f a s c i n ated by its resil ience. T hes e p h o to gr a phs conv ey, in an in d i g o i n s p i r e d tone, stil l l iv es and setti n g s c r e a te d i n my stu dio of obj ects of the p a st a n d present, fou nd on the ri v er’s e dge , r e flecting trade, commerce a n d n a tur a l e l ements. Other images a re si te s p e c i fic to the wharf at ev e n i n g ti m e . I rev isit the suite of w o rk s , di sti lli n g the images to essences o f the r i ve r si de at night, presenting a form o f di sa s so c i ation in the bl u rred darkn es s a s a c a uti onary al l egory.”

Cotton, Moss, Cy press, Jute 2012 Archival Pigment Digital Cyanoty pe Log Book Commerce 2010 Archival Pigment Digital Cyanoty pe Magnolia 2012 Archival Pigment Digital Cyanoty pe

114


Victoria ryan

I n th e first stanza of his p o em , Correspondences , Baudel aire wro te: “ I n Na tur e’s templ e l iv ing pil l ars ri s e/ An d wo r d s are mu rmu red none ha v e un de r s to od/ And man mu st wa n der th r o ugh a tangl ed wood/ Of symbo ls wa tc h i n g him w ith friendl y e yes . ” Alth o ugh his words are open to a n y n um b e r of possibl e interpretati o n s , s o a r e th e wooded tangl es that ap pea r i n Vi c to ria Ryan’s photograph s o f Ne w Orl eans’ riv erbank for es ts , m yste r i o us l inear j ungl e-l ike g la des wh o se a n imistic au ra ev okes not o n ly th e s e c r e t l ife of pl ants bu t al s o a n un s e e n i n terpl ay of gazes, the mu tu a l a p p r a i sa l of the hu man and the fera l th a t s uc h dense w il ds inv ari a bly i m p ly. P h otographic real ity refl e cts a c o n je c tur al and not al w ays consci o u s c o n n e c ti o n betw een the wa tcher a n d th e watched, and the arbo rea l c o n vo luti ons seen here sugge s t a m ulti p li c i ty of l iv ing tangents, ea ch wi th i ts ow n unknowabl e v anishi n g p o i n t.

Poppy 2002 S p l i t To n e d , O i l G l a z e d , S i l v e r Gelatin Print H a n g m a n’s N o o s e 2008 S p l i t To n e d , O i l G l a z e d , S i l v e r Gelatin Print Mi ssi ssippi Riv e r : S h e i l d of Vin e s 2012 S p l i t To n e d , O i l G l a z e d , S i l v e r Gelatin Print

118


Lee Deiga ard

I n ur ba n areas w e increasingl y s ha re s p a c e wi th w il d creatures who hav e o n ly h e si ta n tly ev ol v ed into city dw el l ers a s h a bi ta t loss has increasingl y cau s ed r a c c o o n s, coyotes and other fera l c r e a tur e s to become ou r neigh bo rs . I n h e r a ttempts to know them better, L e e De i gaard makes noctu rnal v i s i ts to th e i r n ativ e w oodl ands and reco rds h e r e n c o unters. “My w ork portra ys a n i m a l p r otagonists and the l ands ca pe we m utua l l y inhabit. I am interes ted i n wa ys o f seeing and being seen : the m e e ti n g and crossing of gazes... Eyes a r e wi n do w s, window s are v iewfin ders , b o un da r i e s, frames, and l e n s es . Ob je c t, su bj ect, free wil l and tres pa s s a r e i llum i nated in the hidden momen ts b e twe e n moments. The pl asticity o f i de n ti ty shares borders, hu man a n d a n i m a l, li g ht and dark, body and sp a ce. �

Jane 2010 Archival Pigment Print Border Crossing 2010 Archival Pigment Print W h a t ’s G o i n g t o H a p p e n ? 2009

Archival Pigment Print 122


Michel varisco

Af te r th e fl ood of 2 005, Michel V ari s co p h o to gr a phed New Orl eans’ C i ty P a r k a n d the surrounding wetla n d s , i n c ludi n g tree stumps, missing l i m bs a n d “ th e dynamic changes of the s wa m p s .” What she saw ov er the c o ur s e o f numerous return v isits w a s a s c a r r e d la ndscape frau ght w ith mas s i v e c h a lle n ge s as w el l as startl ing dis pla ys o f th e r egion’s regenerativ e po wers a m i d a dreamscape of topograp hi ca l di s p la c e m ent, as if a chil dish g i a n t h a d a r bi traril y rearranged the na tu ra l o r de r o f new and ol d, l and and w a ter i n a n e n vi ronment of sunl ight ser ra ted b y p a lm e tto fronds. The resul t wa s her Fragile Land series that V arisco s a ys , “ ulti m a te ly expresses my grief and ho pe f o r th e r e g ion, as the natu ral l ands ca pe m i r r o r s o ur hu man experience in thi s c o lla bo r a tiv e system.” Palmetto 2008 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Outdoor Installation ScrimD ig ital D y e P ig m e nt on Viny l Mandala 2008 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Outdoor Installation ScrimD ig ital D y e P ig m e nt on Viny l City Park #1 2008 Silver Gelatin Photograph, Outdoor Installation ScrimD ig ital D y e P ig m e nt on Viny l 126


S. Gayle Stevens & Judy Sherrod

S. Ga yle Stev ens & Ju dy Sher ro d ’s Nocturnes photographs “beg a n a s a n e xperiment, an adv entu re, a c o lla bo r a tion. A pinhol e camera maker and a w et-pl ate arti s t c o lla bo r a ted to produ ce mam m o th p la te ti n types, echoing the w ork o f e a r ly sur v ey photographers. “T hei r vi e ws o f the Mississippi G ul f C o a s t a t P a ss Christian near New Orl ea n s , p h o to gr a phed at twil ight, by moon li g ht a n d un de r an inky expanse of sta rs , we r e p a r tl y inspired by the aest heti c le ga c i e s o f Cl au de Debu ssy and Ja m es M c Ne i ll Whistl er, bu t al so by the Gulf i tse lf, whose deceptiv el y pla ci d a n d utte rl y unpredictabl e cu rren ts c a n n e ve r be taken for granted. Or a s Ste ve n s a nd Sherrod pu t it, “We to o f o un d o ursel v es at the mercy of the ti de s , o ur images determined by the c a p r i c i o usness of the water before u s . ” Nocturnes 7 2012 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n M a m m o t h P l ate P inh ol e Tint y p e Nocturnes 2 2012 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n M a m m o t h P l ate P inh ol e Tint y p e Nocturnes 38 2012 We t P l a t e C o l l o d i o n M a m m o t h P l ate P inh ol e Tint y p e 130


Published in the United States of America in 2013 by Luna Press, LLC 813 Ursulines Street New Orleans, LA 70116 www.lunapress.com ISBN: 978-0-9896095-0-0 Š 2013 LUNA PRESS, LLC All photographs and writings by contributors printed with permission of the author. Curator: D. Eric Bookhardt Editor: Jenny Bagert Copy Editor: Marigny Dupuy Creative Direction and Design: Erin Knutson and Jacqueline Miro All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retreival system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior consent from the publisher. Printed and Bound in Iceland by ODDI printing Corporation Reykyavik, Iceland

This book was edited in New Orleans. First Edition, First Printing: 1,000 Published for the occasion of 2013 PhotoNOLA festival of photography.


Inventing Reality  

New Orleans Visionary Photography