It’s all about perspective in Louisiana’s Old State Capitol’s second-floor galleries.
That’s where 25 members of the Louisiana Photographic Society are showing their work in the exhibit, “Light Up Louisiana.” It’s also where the old statehouse itself is the dominant subject.
The show runs through Saturday, Sept. 20.
“It’s an exhibit celebrating Louisiana,” says Lauren Davis, curator of the Louisiana Secretary of State Museums. “It was juried among the organization, and each of the photographers have an interesting way of looking at Louisiana.”
Especially when it comes to the Old Capitol. Not all society members chose the building as one of their subjects, but those who did showed it in a different light.
Nooks and crannies not usually seen by visitors are featured here.
“I took them to the upper floors, where they were able to get some interesting shots,” says Carl Smith, who heads maintenance. “They were able to see the building in a different way.”
The dome’s stained glass hues in the photographs are as brilliant as the real thing just outside the gallery. But again, it’s all about perspective.
Viewers not only get to see the building but Louisiana’s people and places through different lenses.
Kenneth Wilson’s presents a ghostly image of Louisiana’s past in “LeBeau Plantation.” In the picture, doors and windows of this once grand structure have long been shuttered, and grass grows tall at its foundation. The Arabi plantation burned in 1986.
Yet Wilson snapped this photo in the spotlight of the late afternoon sun, breathing life into decay, if only for a few moments.
Meanwhile, Beverly Coates’ photo, “Huey,” is reminiscent of the work of Louisiana surrealist photographer Clarence John Laughlin.
Those familiar with Laughlin’s work will recall how he often superimposed different images to create a composition.
The results often were ghostly with live models’ transparent bodies floating in front of crumbling south Louisiana cemeteries and dilapidated houses.
In “Huey,” Coates has superimposed the statue that stands on the gravesite of late Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long over the tall Louisiana State Capitol. The statue acts as a shadow overwhelming the capitol.
There could be a message here about Long’s shadow and Louisiana politics.
Of course, no photographic celebration of Louisiana would be complete without a look at Mardi Gras, and Randy P. Roussel offers a different view in his photo, “Mardi Gras Ladders.”
This photo looks almost like a painting.
Multicolored ladders are lined up along a New Orleans street, ready for the season’s parades. None are occupied, which gives viewers a sense of anticipation of the excitement to come.
Finally, there’s the photo that has a way of catching everyone’s eye — Jay Patel’s “Dome Crown.” The crown atop the Old State Capitol’s stained glass dome is tinged gold by the afternoon sunlight, adding to a royalty quite befitting a castle.