Twilight, Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
I used a 24mm wideangle focal length to layer this twilight image, anchoring it to the antique street lamp in the foreground, and then echoing its upward thrust with the spires of St. Louis Cathedral in the background. However the key to this image lies in the single brilliantly illuminated cloud that seems to float out of the lamp and hang motionless over the cathedral within a patch of blue sky. Since the cathedral is a sacred building, the spiritual symbolism of that cloud dominates the image.
Economics, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
I contrast a bicycle, chained to a lamppost, to a shop window advertising antique jewelry. The bike represents frugality, while the advertisement symbolizes ostentation. The contrast is intensified through all three primary colors – red, yellow, and blue. The wet street reflects this lavish display of color, embracing the bike within softly rendered hues.
Fogbound French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
Flag-bedecked Royal Street becomes a dreamy stage as a heavy morning fog settles over the city. Autos stand mutely on the sidelines as foot-power, pedal-power, and softly focused hitching posts take center stage here.
Mardi Gras display, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
Richly colored Mardi Gras displays fill shop windows on Royal Street long before the Carnival itself begins. I moved in to stress the interplay of color, texture, and symbols that convey the spirit of the city's most important festival.
Persistence, Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
Usually the wrought iron fence surrounding historic Jackson Square is covered with paintings for sale. But not on this day. As heavy fog rolled over the city, accompanied by a cold drizzle, the crowds vanished and sidewalk artists were nowhere to be seen – except for this persistent man. I built the image around the reds – the paint can in the foreground, the frame and umbrella in the middle ground, and a pedestrian in a red coat in the dimly seen background.
Oyster House, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
These patrons were seated within a doorway open to the street. I photographed them from a distance, using a 230mm telephoto focal length. Behind them, diners can be seen reflected in a large mirror, adding a theatrical ambiance to the scene. The gestures of the man at left dominate the image – he holds a phone in one hand, making us wonder if he is talking to the fellow opposite him or if he is speaking simultaneously with someone else.
Bending to the task, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
This photograph of a man making a photograph in the middle of the city’s famous Jackson Square is greatly enhanced by the heavy fog all around him. He seems lost in an enchanted tropical forest, enthralled no doubt by the abstraction wrought by nature itself. However, what made this image so exciting for me were the rhythms created by the interplay between the photographer and nature. The bending trunks of the palm trees seem to be mimicking the photographer’s bending legs as he struggles to compose his own picture in the fog. I add depth to the image by placing part of a bent tree trunk, swathed in peeling bark, across the entire upper right hand portion of my frame.
Under siege, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
I found a moment filled with multiple incongruities within this scene of tourists crossing an intersection in the heart of the French Quarter. On the left side of this image, a mother is trying to extract a child from the shoulders of her husband. On the right side of the frame, yet another mother reaches for the hand of a tearful little boy who appears to be lunging for his sister instead. The image is dominated, however, by the calm presence of that sister. She turns towards her weeping little brother, while simultaneously tolerating a sneak attack from behind, as yet another sibling grabs at her waist.
Mint Julep, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
This juxtaposition of a row of trash containers and a faded Mint Julep advertisement offers an incongruous contrast between reality and fantasy. The four garbage cans are starkly realistic – the can first in line even opens its jaws to seemingly consume even more trash. The comparison between unpleasant garbage and a taste treat is strikingly incongruous. Meanwhile, the faded sign once promised a “delicious” and “refreshing” experience. Yet the sign’s now faded colors also tell us that this “new drink” is not new any more, and that perhaps its time may well have come and gone.
Pondering the past, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
I was photographing a set of historic facades lining a busy French Quarter neighborhood as this group of tourists entered my frame. They stopped and waited for me to make my picture. I waved them through, and caught one of them as she surged ahead of her friends. I place her squarely within a time-worn space -- the wall at her shoulder has seen empires come and go over the last 400 years. She folds her arms as she walks towards my lens and seems to be considering the age of the place as she passes through it. The jocular, softly focused people behind her do not seem to be on the same trip at this moment.
Wet City, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
Drainage in New Orleans has been a major concern since the founding of the city. It is completely surrounded by water – Lake Pontchartrain lies to the north, Lake Borgne and wetlands to the east and west, and the Mississippi River to the south. Much of this place lies at or below sea level, and rainfall must either evaporate or be pumped out. When strong winds blow and hard rains fall, the city always faces the threat of floods, most notably during its most catastrophic drainage event – Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The city still bears traces of the damage. This image does not show water damage itself, but it does imply an awareness of the constant threat posed by drainage issues. The rubber boots, incongruously tossed into the bed of a local bar’s pick up truck, offers a symbol of such readiness. The French Quarter itself is reflected in the window, while the name of the bar’s famous host restaurant – Antoine’s – is emblematic of the city itself.
Drainage everywhere, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2014
I am rarely conscious of drainpipes, but in New Orleans, things are different. They often embody a bit of history, and represent one of the city's greatest challenges. The base of this drainpipe is decorated in the style of a classical pillar, a nod to the European character of the city itself. I made this image as an exercise in color as well – the orange drainpipe stands in striking contrast to the reddish wall to the right and the blue-gray paint of the building and door to the left.