Light and Life: St. Louis Cemetery No.1 Reframed through the Lens of John Pinderhughes
Light and Life: St. Louis Cemetery No.1 Reframed through the Lens of John Pinderhughes explores photography’s ability to capture time and illuminate space. Pinderhughes’ images invite viewers to contemplate—or possibly decipher—the physical, spiritual, and temporal contexts of their origin. Light and line fuse to isolate spatial patterns, direct the viewer’s gaze, and challenge conventional conceptions of cemeteries and the life inhabiting them.
From the mid 1970s, Pinderhughes has worked as a commercial photographer in New York City. For the last 40 years; however, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana, has served as the inspiration for some of Pinderhughes’ most profound and contemplative personal work. Through his lens, the crumbling structures of brick and limestone, the “XXX” markings on the tomb of famed Creole Louisiana Voodoo practitioner Marie Catherine Laveau, the fresh flowers that adorn deteriorating tombs, and the occasional backdrop of Iberville housing projects oblige viewers to consider what exists beyond, as well as within, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
There is perhaps an unexpectedly emotional aspect to these photographs, prompting the viewer to come away with new, sobering, and deeply thoughtful conceptions, as well as an almost introspective reflection, on what, for some, is a lost city. Pinderhughes’ framing of this New Orleans necropolis, or city of the dead, compels us to consider the city itself, its fascinating histories and the ways in which St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 has been a silent witness to the past.
-Phillip A. Townsend, Curator