Louisiana Lens

Photographs from The Historic New Orleans Collection

John H. Lawrence, with a foreword by Jeff L. Rosenheim

The Historic New Orleans Collection 2023 • hardcover
9" × 11.5" • 288 pp.
44 color images; 131 black and white images
ISBN 978-0-917860-91-1 $49.95


Available November 1, 2023


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"Leave it to Lawrence to construct a publication as dynamic and eccentric as the city itself."

                        —Jeff L. Rosenheim, Joyce Frank Menschel Curator in Charge, Department of Photographs, Metropolitan Museum of Art



Louisiana Lens: Photographs from The Historic New Orleans Collection celebrates the achievement of one of America’s leading photography curators. In 175 striking images, ranging from formal 19th-century daguerreotypes to born-digital photographs documenting everything from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath to the joy of a New Orleans second-line parade, author John H. Lawrence charts the history of photography itself while tracing nearly two centuries of growth and change in New Orleans and Louisiana.

Lawrence provides an illuminating narrative for each image, whether offering insight into early photographic processes or sharing his firsthand knowledge of the photographers themselves. In surveying compelling photographs by greats such as Walker Evans, Doris Ulmann, Lewis Hine, Frances Benjamin Johnston, and George Dureau and spotlighting dozens of rare works by unsung or anonymous artists, Lawrence touches on themes of architecture, music, commerce, race, arts and culture, and the changing landscapes and geographies of the US South.



Head and shoulders view of author John H. LawrenceA New Orleans native, John H. Lawrence was responsible for building the extensive photographic holdings at The Historic New Orleans Collection, where he worked for 46 years before retiring as director of museum programs at the end of 2020. As THNOC's head of curatorial collections, Lawrence oversaw holdings numbering more than half a million items. He has written and lectured widely about contemporary and historic photography and about the administration and preservation of pictorial collections, and he has curated dozens of exhibitions on a wide range of photographic, artistic, and general historical topics. He holds degrees in literature and art history from Vassar College and a certificate in museum management from the Getty Leadership Institute, formerly the Museum Management Institute.



March 15, 2024
New Orleans Book Festival
Savage Gollner Stage, Tulane University
12 p.m.
“Seeing New Orleans in Print and Paint,” with Emilie Rhys and Rebecca Snedeker
March 23, 2024
Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival
Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres Street
1 p.m.
“Seeing Our History on the Page,” a conversation with Errol Laborde
Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres Street