New Orleans Walls, Still Standing
There is an old cliché: "What if walls could talk?"
Well, walls may not literally speak, but they hold within them a potential for expression. The artistic vision for the New Orleans Walls series first came to me in 1994, when a local musician asked me to take pictures of him for the cover of his upcoming album. He had chosen an old, weathered, colorful wall in the French Quarter as the background. Although the "portrait' aspect of the photo was interesting, it was the image of the wall behind the subject that made an indelible impression on me. The original series was shot on 35 mm, locking the film to get double exposure, with friends; it was revisited starting in 2008, with famous (Fats Domino, Drew Brees, Irma Thomas, etc.) and less famous New Orleanians, using a digital camera. The process was the same as originally conceived, but the double exposure effect was achieved with photoshop instead of in camera.
The project became complete during the second round, when I was able to add words to the images. It sort of came naturally as the "models" would tell me stories, and I eventually asked them to share a specific, significant moment in their life... Now the walls were truly talking. (The stories are available upon request).