Austin TX’s Walker Pickering named 2013 CJL Award winner

Holy Ghost Revival, by Walter Pickering

Austin, Texas-based photographer Walker Pickering has been chosen as the winner of NOPA’s 2013 Clarence John Laughlin Award. He received the award, which includes a $5,000 grant, for his photographic series “Nearly West,” in which he returns to the land of his childhood, “re-imagining places my ancestors lived and experienced.”

Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art, who served as juror for the 2013, chose Pickering out of 14 finalists, themselves taken from 133 entries. In Pickering’s work, he found photos that “embody a haunting and surreal sense of place and history, emphasizing the strangeness of the worlds that we create, populate, and then leave behind.”

Pickering, born in 1980, was raised in the oil fields of West Texas and the swamps of far East Texas. He spent his summers at Deep South family reunions. During his childhood years, he also  traveled with his brother to Nigeria to visit their father for several weeks. And this, he says, set him on a lifelong pursuit of adventure and exploration.

Walker’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad, and is included in permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Wittliff Collection of Southwestern & Mexican Photography at Texas State University in San Marcos. He teaches at several colleges in Texas, and regularly gives lectures.

The Clarence John Laughlin Award was created by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in 2010 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.

For more on the award, as well as Pickering, 2013 finalists and past recipients, please see the CJL Award page of the NOPA website.

Mayflower

Overtaken House

Rainbow