Fernandes’s choice to stay in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina allowed him to develop a true photographic voice within his documentary work. His pieces capture those caught in the crossroads of history, whose optimism and defiance in spite of repression and poverty are used daily as a means of survival.
In Cecelia + Jose Fernandes’s diptychs, a forced dispute occurs. Space and meaning are sharply sliced creating a supra-narrative of negotiating constructs challenging the linearity of dominating beliefs. The New Orleans diptychs speak of the paradox where a resilient culture survives to witness the revival of street rituals and comes in contact, in a collision of realities, with the inevitable progress which will occupy the spaces where the culture was born.
“On my walks I see how things converge through urban, multicultural mash-ups. My neighborhood -St. Roch is a living collage of lives complete with necessary sadness, unexpected joys, enduring people, fantastic creatures, wild color, and charged atmospheres.” – Chris Lawson
Frogs, Chris Lawson was selected for the Louisiana Contemporary Exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art opening August 1st-September 30.
My friend, local writer, attorney & restauranteur Maurice Ruffin, wrote a beautiful & transcendent essay “St. Claude Avenue: loss and recovery on an inner-city artery” (included in the book Unfathomable City ) about St. Claude Avenue, a road that runs parallel to the river, south… “all the way to Shell Beach”. His wise and honest writing made me curious on many levels, including the nature at & of the end of the road…what does this “beach” 22 miles south of my house in the Lower 9th, look like? I decided to visit, and then return many times with the intent to understand what this beach meant, what it means now, and see a bit more of the roads, people & history that lead to it. What they do, what they did, what they’re doing now?