Clarence John Laughlin – New Orleans Photographer - 1905-1986 First American Surrealist Photographer

With New Orleans very much on my mind ( and hoping there will be little damage to my favorite city ) I was taken back to to a favorite photographer of mine.

Clarence John Laughlin captured the Romanticism and mystery of New Orleans as no one else has ever been able to do. His compositions captured the grand architecture fading into ruin and decay. but still with its beauty intact. He had an eye for fantasy and was able to make poetry with his work . Laughlin took areas out of the tourist view that had suffered from climatic conditions and poverty and created a world of his own. His was known as an Industrial and Architectural Photographer but I think most think of him as the the first American Surrealist photographer. and an enigma in his own right. It has been said the movie “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte ’s” film direction was influenced by his work.

The Repulsive Bed

Farewell to the Past

Short video of Laughlins Work on Masters of Photography
A showcase of his best work

“Everything, everything, no matter how commonplace and how ugly, has secret meanings. Everything.”

Clarence John Laughlin

Growing up in the South myself I was inspired by him. Every chance we got my brother and I used to go to old plantations and antebellums homes to photograph the architectural elements that were left as we knew one day they would not exist.

Some of my favorites of his work

The Repulsive Bed 1941

Three of most favorites of laughlins work

Article from the Best of New Orleans about Clarence John

Links to Clarence John Laughlin

Masters of Photography website

Book Review of Memoir

The Stephne Daiter Gallery

Images from

Journal Comments

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