blue-collar mind's Reviews > Portraits: Photographs in New Orleans, 1998-2009

Portraits by Jonathan Traviesa
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Oct 27, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: new-orleans
Read in October, 2009

As usual, what is interesting about any local non-fiction book is the number of details that I knew, and here it is the number of faces in here that were already known to me. Some I know enough to stop and talk with whenever we run into each other, some just to nod to when biking by. Jonathan is that kind of connector whether as photographer or in person, merging many different communities with his easy presence and gentle manner.
I think that carries over with these very direct portraits of his people. They are posed in their yards or on their porches with wildness around in the form of greenery or sometimes what others in America would call piles of trash, but we know as useful re-uses of old. His respect for his subjects is profound.
A couple of favorites from the book:
Ginger, who seems like an apparition with her translucent skin and lace dress.
Shantrelle. The many different surfaces and shadows all add up to a seminal New Orleans portrait in my mind. Her expression kind of says it all...
Garnett and Michael on opposite pages, but with a similar look, stance and scale of house behind them. Amazing detail.
Clay. his arms mirror his backdrop and somehow tell us old beat up (houses?) are okay.
Cree- well I am a big fan of this woman, our city's Godmother of Flea (markets) but I also like the bravado and detail of her portrait.
Jonathan himself-I feel that if my grandmother was still alive, and I showed her this portrait, she would tell me she knew this guy back in the 1940s and his name was Raoul.

Buy this book to know what real bohemia, community is about. And good photography.
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