Chandra McCormick & Keith Calhoun:
Faces of Tremé/New Work
November 30, 2012 – January 26, 2013
Opening: Friday, Nov 30, 6-9pm
Panel discussion with the photographers and others: TBD, January 2013
McKenna Museum of African American Art
2003 Carondelet Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Thur-Sat, 11am-4pm; Tue-Wed by appt.
Museum Closed for Holidays: December 22 – January 3
Faces of Tremé – Curated by Deborah Willis
Preserving the cultural history of African American life in the south, Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun, native Lower 9th Ward photographers, have been documenting rural communities throughout Louisiana for more than 30 years. Following the beat of the Second Line into the heart of historic Tremé, the oldest African American community in the United States, McCormick and Calhoun have their ears to the ground and their eyes on the soul of their subjects. Their photographs exist as an archival memory of a ritualistic, vibrant and celebratory Tremé – a place that has birthed artists such as Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty, Lionel (Uncle Lionel) Batiste, and the Rebirth Brass Band. Beyond documentation, their photographs bare witness to a changing demographic. McCormick and Calhoun’s images shed new light and honor the Indigenous families who make up the fabric of a unique historic Tremé.
Organized in partnership with the L9 Center for the Arts
This exhibition is being presented in conjunction with the 7th Annual PhotoNOLA festival with generous support from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
Chandra McCormick is a documentary photographer who chronicles the sociocultural aspects of human life. Born in New Orleans in 1957, her career background includes photography, activism, and history, which has given her a unique capability to focus on a range of subjects not commonly covered by other documentary photographers.
McCormick is renowned for capturing many different aspects of New Orleans culture, as well as the lifestyles of her fellow New Orleanians. In addition to documenting the city’s social and cultural history, McCormick has studied and documented religious ceremonies of the Spiritual Churches, which have rarely been captured. She has also focused on African American laborers, such as sugarcane scrappers and sweet potato workers of rural Louisiana. She has produced an extensive body of work on Angola Prison, focusing on its incarcerated men and the impact of the prison system on their families; the work was featured in Aperture in February 2006.
Her work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Aperture, The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, and Albuquerque Tribune. Her photographs have been included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum, Philadelphia African American Museum, Civil Rights Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, the Peace Museum, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York University, and Aperture Gallery.
Born and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward, Keith Calhoun is a New Orleans photographer committed to documenting the local culture, spirit, and people of his hometown.
Keith began his photographic career running a portrait studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Since then, he has documented the African American community in New Orleans and its surrounding areas, creating a unique body of work that chronicles the daily lives and cultural richness of this community over the past thirty years. Past work includes stories on laborers on the loading docks of the Mississippi River, sugarcane plantations on River Road, and day laborers working in sweet potato and cotton fields. In addition, he has produced an extensive body of work on Angola Prison, focusing on its incarcerated men and the impact of the prison system on their families; the work was featured in Aperture in February 2006.
Calhoun’s work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, and Albuquerque Tribune. His photographs have been included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philadelphia African American Museum, Civil Rights Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, The Peace Museum, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York University, and Aperture Gallery. He has received several awards from the New Orleans Press Club.