CJL 2017

Jerry Takigawa Wins CJL 2017! Click to view the winning portfolio. 

The Clarence John Laughlin Award was created by the New Orleans Photo Alliance to support the work of photographers who use the medium as a means of creative expression. It honors the life and work of Clarence John Laughlin (1905-1985), a New Orleans photographer best known for his surrealist images of the American South. The Clarence John Laughlin Award grants one $5000 prize annually to a photographer whose work exhibits sustained artistic excellence and creative vision.

Both emerging and established photographers residing in the U.S. may apply.

The New Orleans Photo Alliance invites photographers working in all mediums, styles and schools of thought to apply. Still images made from all photographic processes, both traditional and digital will be considered. There are no restrictions on subject matter or genres. Traditional, contemporary, avant-garde, creative and experimental works that include old and new processes, mixed techniques, and challenging personal and emotional statements are all welcome. Still photography or photographic techniques should be integral to the works submitted.



The 2017 Clarence John Laughlin Award will be juried by Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director and Curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. The Griffin Museum is a nonprofit photography museum whose mission is to promote an appreciation of photographic art and a broader understanding of its visual, emotional, and social impact. The museum houses three galleries and maintains five satellite gallery spaces and several virtual online galleries.

Tognarelli is responsible for producing over 60 exhibitions a year at the Griffin and its surrounding satellite spaces. She holds an M.S. in Arts Administration from Boston University, BA from Regis College, is a graduate of the New England School of Photography and is a candidate for her Masters in Education at Lesley University. She has juried and curated exhibitions internationally including American Photo’s Image of the Year, Photoville’s Fence, Flash Forward Festival, Deland Arts Festival, Center for Fine Art Photography, PDN’s Photo Annual, PDN’s Curator Awards, Roy G. Biv Gallery, Image Ohio, The Curated Fridge, the Kontinent Awards, the Filter Festival in Chicago, San Francisco International Photography Exhibition, Your Daily Photograph for Duncan Miller Gallery, Peter Miller Fine Art Gallery, Yankee Magazine, Vermont Center for Photography, The Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Davis Orton Gallery, the Congressional Institute’s national visual art competition for high school students, A Smith Gallery, TX, the Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Los Angeles Center of Photography, the city of Saint-Germaine-en-Laye, France and the Lishui International Photography Festival in Lishui, China.

She is a regular participant in national and local portfolio reviews, has been a panelist and featured speaker at photography events and conferences including MacWorld and Color Connections. She has been a panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Photography Fellowships twice, as well as Danforth Art Museum and Arts Worcester, a juror for the Cambridge Art Council’s Community Supported Art Initiative, South Shore Art Center, Marblehead, Rockport, Bedford, and New Hampshire Art Associations, and many area camera clubs and art councils. She is a nominator for the Prix Pictet in Geneva, Switzerland, a nominator for the Heinz Prize in Pennsylvania, the Robert Gardner Fellowship at Harvard University, St. Botolph Club Foundation, MOPA Triennial, and the Rappaport Prize in Massachusetts. Ms. Tognarelli was recognized by “Printing Impressions Magazine” as one of twelve women in the United States who contributed to digital advances in the printing and graphic arts industries.

She is a past member of the Xerox Technical Advisory Board, Winchester Rotary and the board of the Winchester Multicultural Network. She is on the advisory board of the New England School of Photography.

Paula Tognarelli’s Mix Tape at Lenscratch
Elin Spring’s Curator’s Viewpoint



2017 Recipient – Jerry Takigawa
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2016 Recipient – David Emitt Adams
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2015 Recipient – Adam Davies
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2014 Recipient – Keliy Anderson-Staley
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2013 Recipient – Walker Pickering
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2012 Recipient – Lee Deigaard
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2011 Recipient – Joni Sternbach
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2010 Recipient – Charles Grogg
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About Clarence John Laughlin

For a solid 35 years between 1930 and 1965, Louisiana-born Clarence John Laughlin (14 August 1905—2 January 1985) photographed and wrote about things that interested him and that he thought others should notice, too. A resident of New Orleans from the time he was five years old, Laughlin found hidden meanings and universal truths in a variety of sources: everyday objects, the architecture of New Orleans, Louisiana’s plantations, and Victorian architecture of the United States. All of these topics, and many others, formed the structure of his photographic groups, a system that served to both organize his archive and define it along thematic lines. He interpreted these subjects, and others, through black and white photographs, accompanied by texts he composed to steer the viewer in certain directions about the photographs’ contents. Collage, multiple exposures, combination printing, and hand-coloring were among the tools he incorporated in crafting his pictures.

Laughlin’s insistence on including the texts with the displayed works often drew criticism from curators and fellow photographers, and his unyielding stance on this point may have slowed the recognition of his unique vision, though his 1948 Ghosts Along the Mississippi was critically acclaimed and remained in print for some four decades. In the years following his active photographic career, Laughlin tweaked the codification of his work and continued his writing. In an era where more museums and galleries collected and presented photography exhibitions, Laughlin’s recognition grew. Museums around the world house his prints.

Though not educated past early high school, Laughlin’s vast personal library covering a dizzying array of topics, informed both his writing and picture making. In addition to these two pursuits, book collecting on a large scale was the third leg of his philosophical tripod. Prior to his death, his archive of photographs and writing was acquired by The Historic New Orleans Collection. Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge holds his library.
~John H. Lawrence, The Historic New Orleans Collection

Please read the guidelines and application requirements thoroughly. If you have any further questions you may contact: grants@neworleansphotoalliance.org