Synopses & Reviews
This volume provides a much-needed reassessment of the life and work of Clarence John Laughlin (1905-1985). Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Laughlin lived most of his life in New Orleans, He discovered the literature of Baudelaire and the French Symbolists in the mid-1920s and began writing poetry and Gothic fiction at that time. In 1934, influenced by the work of Stieglitz, Strand, Weston, Man Ray, and Atget, Laughlin took up photography.
Devoted to the documentation of historic buildings and artifacts, Laughlin was at the same time committed to a highly personal application of photography to evoke the underlying mystery of the world. He used multiple exposures, theatrical arrangements, and lengthy captions to bridge the gap between the visible world and an allusive, metaphorical realm of intuition and fantasy.
Laughlin's work seems particularly relevant today. The last decade of American photography has been characterized by an artistic focus on issues of theatricality, the tension between photographic "truth" and "invention," and the linkage between world and pictures.