Deadline for Clarence John Laughlin Award is Sat., July 20

Worth noting: The deadline for applications for NOPA’s 2013 Clarence John Laughlin Award–Saturday, July 20–is quickly approaching. The annually granted honor, created to recognize and reward a fine art photographer who is creating or has completed a significant body of photographic work, includes a $5,000 prize.

The award, instituted by NOPA in 2010, was created as a tribute to 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 Magnificent Spiral (No. 5) by Clarence John Laughlin, 1948.
Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collectio


Serving as this year’s juror is Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Finalists will be announced on August 20, with the winner named on October 1.

The award is open to emerging, as well as established photographers who reside in the United States. An online application process requires a portfolio of 10-20 photographs, a written statement and a bio or curriculum vitae. The application fee will $25.

NOPA President Seth Boonchai noted that, through the Clarence John Laughlin Award, NOPA  makes a tangible link to the late photographers’ passion for pushing the boundaries of how photography should be made, viewed and experienced.  “We are proud to be able honor Laughlin’s vision by helping to significantly support a contemporary photographer and their vision of what photography is.”

Past recipients of the Clarence John Laughlin Award are Lee Deigaard (2012), Joni Sternbach (2011) and Charles Grogg (2010), whose winning portfolios can be seen on the NOPA website:

About Russell Lord
Russell Lord is the Freeman Family Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Lord previously held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery, and has written widely on 19th, 20th century and contemporary photographers. Most recently, he contributed an essay to the forthcoming book, “Edward Burtynsky: Water,” which will published in September. He is currently working on two books, “Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument,” and a book about the permanent collection at the New Orleans Museum of Art. His recent exhibitions include “What is a Photograph?”, “Photography, Sequence, and Time,” and “Reinventing Nature: Art from the School of Fontainebleau.” Much of his research focuses on the relationships between photography and other visual media.

About Clarence John Laughlin

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.  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.  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.  His 1948 Ghosts Along the Mississippi was critically acclaimed and remained in print for some four decades. Museums around the world house his prints.  Prior to his death, his archive of photographs and writing was acquired by The Historic New Orleans Collection.
— John H. Lawrence, The Historic New Orleans Collection