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Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin...

Book: Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere

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Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere

by Richard Sexton
essays by Jay D. Edwards and John H. Lawrence

Published by The Historic New Orleans Collection

240 pages; 203 photographs

$49.95 retail

ISBN - 13: 978-0-917860-66-9

Publication Date: April 2014

Synopsis

In 1974, when RIchard Sexton was 20 years old and had recently developed a serious interest in photography, he traveled overland from southwest Georgia, where he lived at the time, to Bolivia for the primary purpose of taking photographs and exploring the world. New Orleans was the first stop on this formative trip. In 1991, he would move to New Orleans from San Francisco, and in the years that followed he authored and photographed many titles on New Orleans, on Louisiana, and the Gulf South. In 2006, he returned to Latin America for the first time since 1974. Ostensibly, he was vacationing in Buenos Aires, though the trip immediately rekindled his early photographic interests in Latin America. Two years later, he traveled to Panama and Ecuador, at which point the idea for a photographic book emerged combining his New Orleans and Louisiana photography with new photography from places in Latin America and the Caribbean which shared visual, cultural, and historical connections with Louisiana. In 2009, Sexton was granted a license to travel to Cuba for the project. The following year, he returned to Colombia to photograph in Cartegena de Indias. Finally, in 2013, The Historic New Orleans Collection provided funding for his travel to Haiti to complete the project.

Creole World is a complex, multi-layered photo essay linking New Orleans, which is frequently referred to as " the nothernmost Caribbean city", with its cultural kin further south. The similarities are quite striking and at times even uncanny. There are photographs of many urban places and neighborhoods that are difficult to travel to and photograph in, such as El Chorrillo in Panama City, a poor neighborhood adjacent to Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama. El Chorrillo was bombed and invaded by the first Bush administration in the late 80s in pursuit of Manuel Noriega. El Chorrillo has never fully recovered from this devastation and it is known today for its blight, high murder rate, and drug dealing activity. Due to the US embargo, Cuba is inaccessible to Americans as a tourist destination and over the last half-century has become a "forbidden island" to US citizens. Richard Sexton traveled to and photographed not only in Havana, but throughout Cuba, in Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, and other locales. Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the difficult, to virtually impossible conditions of its aftermath, the US State Department recommends against any recreational travel to Haiti. In spite of all the difficulties in contemporary Haiti, Richard Sexton traveled and photographed throughout the country from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel to Cap-Haitien. The culmination of these travels has resulted in Creole World, which immerses the reader in an exotic world they would never be able to see on their own.

Creole World is accompanied by a traveling exhibit of the same name currently on view in the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries of The Historic New Orleans Collection from April 15 to December 7, 2014. Gallery hours are Tuesday thru Saturday 9:30-4:30.

Commentary

Sexton's photographs are remarkably detailed, and yet they capture something ineffable in addition to the physical texture of these comparable places. The photographs capture something of the essence of each place, the Creole genius loci, if you will. Sexton has not merely described the facts of Creole-ness, he has evoked its spirit.
--George Slade, from his review of Creole World for his blog Photobooks Recently Released and Reviewed

Sexton's recent collection of photographs in Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere, take readers on a mesmerizing journey through New Orleans and the evolving Creole world.-
--Rebeca Schiller, from her review in Hand-Eye Magazine

The strength of the exhibit lies in the visual playground of the photography. Vivid colors highlight the journey the visitor goes on as he explores the regions afar as well as in their own backyard of New Orleans. And one does not have to travel far to see firsthand the beauty portrayed in this exhibit.
--Anita Oubre, from her review in The New Orleans Tribune

Sexton. . . succeeds splendidly in his latest book, Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere. Sexton's lush compendium gathers nearly four decades of documentary work from Cuba, Haiti, Colombia, Panama and New Orleans.
--Chris Waddington, from his review in The New Orleans Times-Picayune

All the things that make New Orleans unlike North America confirm that it is part of another cultural world shaped by Spanish and French colonialism, West Aftrican labor and beliefs, and the rise and demise of the empire of sugar. Once rich and the cockpit of European rivalries, today this world is faded and forgotten but still alive. Creole World is a visual homage to past cultural connections and a vivid present.
--Randolph Delehanty, author of Art in the American South and coauthor of New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence

Marked by accomplished photography, peceptive essays, and an elegant design, Creole World offers the reader insights into a textured, layered, and lush world.
--J. Richard Gruber, director emeritus, Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Creole World reminds us... of the interconnectedness of all cultural habits and that where we come from profoundly informs who we are and who we might become.
--Russel Lord, curator of photographs, New Orleans Museum of Art

In Creole World, that old New Orleans greeting " How's your mama an' nem" gains depth and resonance. We learn that "an nem" includes our cousins in Haiti (cozen nou an Ayiti), our uncles in Cartegena (nuestros tios), our aunts in Cuba, (nuestras tias), and a wealth of other friends and relations in Panama. By depicting these connections so beautifully in pictures and words, Richard Sexton has made the Creole world at once larger, smaller, and better.
--Lolis Eric Elie, writer for HBO's Treme and coproducer/writer of Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans

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Richard Sexton

Historic New Orleans Collection.

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