James Osborne IV: Danger Shelter Opportunity:
The Coastal Fortifications of Nineteenth Century Louisiana
December 1 – 31, 2014
Danger Shelter Opportunity Project Statement:
These photographs seek to establish a contemporary record of the nineteenth-century masonry fortifications of the Third System whose continued existence in southeastern Louisiana is in peril. Designed and implemented in the years following the invasion of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 by Napoleon Bonaparte’s chief engineer, Louisiana’s coastal forts represent the pinnacle of European, pre-modern-warfare military architecture. With their obsolescence secured by advances in technology in the mid to late nineteenth century, each was abandoned or decommissioned following the American Civil War. These historic constructed spaces which are each uniquely adapted to the land they occupy have never been formally or comprehensively photographed, though they have existed in varying states of ruin and decay for well over a century. Continued hurricane damage, neglect, lack of funding and public disinterest contribute to their forthcoming non-existence. The series Danger Shelter Opportunity is a preservative effort to capture photographically not only the appearance of these places, but the nature of their experience. – James Osborne IV
James Osborne was born in Lafayette, LA in 1982 and raised near the city of New Orleans. He works predominantly with various photographic mediums, but at times includes video in his large-scale installations. Osborne completed an MFA at Louisiana State University in 2014 and a BFA at Louisiana Tech University in 2004. He has been a tin-typist for the photographer Deborah Luster, a civilian field photographer for the United States Department of Defense, and a commercial studio photographer while pursuing personal works. His dichotic exposure to commercial as well as fine art photography effectuates a straightforward and formalistic approach in which light, texture and geometry are of primary interest. Osborne’s personal work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions, his commercial work has been published in all manner or media both nationally and internationally, with a selection of his photographs at Fort Pike and the Stennis Space Center in the collection of the Library of Congress.