About the Photographs

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In General:
As a human being and as an artist, what interests me most in the world is the human condition itself. So in order to make some sense of it, I have turned my camera on my fellow man
I begin with a basically documentary approach: I photograph my subjects in a straightforward, realistic manner and try to produce images that are sharp and clear. The subjects stand or sit and I usually have them looking directly into the camera. I do this deliberately in order to establish eye contact between the subjects and the viewer. I want the viewer to recognize his common humanity with them.
For a number of years, I worked with black and white film from which I made black and white prints without any special darkroom manipulation. Then I hand colored the prints with a combination of photo oil and pencils. This addition of color by hand to the prints produces several special effects. In some ways the hand colored prints look more realistic than a color photograph which usually has more color than there is in the real world. Also, because there is an actual line where each color ends and the next color begins, the objects seem more separated, giving a greater feeling of three-dimensionality. And the black of the underlying print adds a depth that I find missing in color photographs.
On the other hand, the colors themselves do not necessarily look “real” thus the hand-tinting technique calls attention to itself and thereby sets up a certain tension between the reality as revealed in the straightforward documentary photograph and the illusion as created by the hand of the artist.
When I began working full time at the New Orleans Museum of Art, I found that I no longer had time to perform the time consuming task of hand coloring my photographs. By this time, digital ink jet printing was becoming popular. I decided to give it a try. I liked the results better than the chromogenic prints that I had always avoided. I found that with the ink jet prints, the photographer had more control over each color and also could achieve some interesting results with photoshop. I have been making digital prints ever since.


Women in Red:
This is a series about color, specifically the color red, and the emotional and psychological ramifications of color. Like music, color evokes and conveys emotion. Red is the color of royalty, of pomp and circumstance, of joy and celebration. Men wear red ties to symbolize power. Women wear red to be alluring, sexy, to attract attention. As a free lance photographer, I photographed a lot of parties and balls and fund raising events for charitable organizations. I was struck with the number of women who wore red. I got the idea of doing a series of photographs of women in red as an examination of the effects and the psychology of color.


Local Color:
 Since I have lived most of my life in New Orleans, the residents of the city have become my subjects. I find them fitting representatives of humankind. I like their quirky individuality, their joie de vivre, their stoicism, and their ability to laugh at themselves.
One aspect of the New Orleans character that I find interesting both visually and psychologically is the love to “dress up” or costume – whether it is for Mardi Gras, for Easter, for Sunday church or for a special event. This tradition, which spans all the socio-economic strata of the city, seems in some way to represent the indomitableness of the human spirit.

While photographing the citizens of New Orleans, I ran across several sets of twins. I found twins intriguing from several points of view. On a purely visual level, the use of repetition is a basic
technique of composition and design as well as being a common device of humor.  I hope, therefore, that the image of identical twins, especially when they are dressed alike, is visually enticing and amusing. At the same time, it raises questions about perception itself. 
The image of identical twins resonates on a deeper human level by challenging our assumptions of individual identity and uniqueness. And the special bond that twins seem to have brings up questions about our relationships with others.
When I heard that there was an actual festival of twins, Twins Days in Twinsburg, Ohio, I determined that I had to go to that festival and take photographs. I attended Twins Days for five years. It was indeed a visual and intellectual feast for a photographer and observer of human nature.


New Orleans Sunday:
For the past several years I have been documenting two very colorful cultural traditions in the African American community in New Orleans. They both take place on Sunday. Sunday has always been a very special day in the African American community of the city. It is a day of joy and celebration.
It begins in the morning in the churches that dot the residential neighborhoods. In many areas, every city block has a church. On Sunday morning, the churches are filled with worshippers. Many of them, the ladies in particular are dressed to the nines. Throughout the year, there are several Sundays that are designated as observances of special occasions. One those days, the committee members who helped organize the event dress up in colorful, matching outfits to reflect the communal and celebratory nature of their participation.
On Sunday afternoon, very different celebrations take place in the same neighborhoods. These are the parades of the clubs know as “social aid and pleasure clubs’, also referred to as second liners. On the serious side, the clubs provide support to friends and neighbors in need, but on the light side, each club stages an annual parade through the neighborhoods in which they live. The members dress in very colorful, matching outfits and dance through the streets behind a brass band.
Though there are obvious differences between the two types of Sunday activities, the one sacred, the other secular, they share some important similarities. Bot the church groups and the second liners show the same sense of pride and joy in wearing the special finery used to mark the occasion. Wearing the special attire is also an expression of a strong sense of community.
This sense of brotherhood, of shared cultural traditions and of a common history, is the very foundation and strength of the African American community of the city. In turn, the African American traditions are an essential part of the rich and varied cultural tapestry of New Orleans. They also represent two of the most important aspects of the character of the people of the city, their deep and abiding spirituality and their undying joie de vivre.


For a number of years, I have been a national member of A.I.R.Gallery in New York City.  Founded in l972, A.I.R. was the first gallery of women artists for women artists in the U.S. It was started by a group of bold, young women at a time when most galleries in the city and the country exhibited almost exclusively the work of men artists. So these young women artists got together, rented a dilapidated storefront space in Soho, renovated it themselves and opened a gallery. It became a beacon of the feminist movement in the city and is still going strong forty years later.
As a member of the gallery, I had heard of these courageous women. A few years ago, I got to meet and photograph one of them, not because she was a founder but because she was a twin. As we talked during our photo session, I learned that most of the original founders were still artists and still lived in the New York area. I was intrigued and got the idea of photographing them as a way to pay them tribute for their important contribution to the position of women in the art world.