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E. J. Bellocq : Storyville Portraits


Deborah Bell Photographs presents E.J. Bellocq: Storyville Portraits. Thirty-six printing-out-paper prints, made later by Lee Friedlander from Bellocq’s original glass plate negatives, will be on view. E.J. Bellocq (American, 1873-1949) remains an ambiguous figure in history. Following his death in 1949, eighty-nine glass plate negatives of portraits of female prostitutes from New Orleans’ Storyville district were found in his desk. All of the images were taken circa 1912 by Bellocq, who was a commercial photographer practicing in New Orleans. Photographer Lee Friedlander acquired the plates in 1966 and made contact prints of the 8 x 10-inch negatives on the same gold-toned printing out paper that Bellocq used in his rare prints. Friedlander is credited with salvaging and promoting these pictures, the only aspect of Bellocq’s work known to have survived. The mystery surrounding the photographs and the personality of E.J. Bellocq is furthered by the fact that many of the plates were cracked, scratched, or damaged at the time that Friedlander acquired them. In 1970, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, exhibited a survey of the Bellocq prints made...

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