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PhotoNOLA 2010 

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The fifth annual PhotoNOLA may be officially over, but most of its more than 50 exhibitions are still open. The diversity is mind-boggling, but many of the Uptown venues share a related theme in the form of the Southern landscape and its people. Louisiana and Trees: Life Entwined at Sibley Gallery features work in various media, but the photographs by Wanda Boudreaux, Joshua Mann Pailet, Richard Sexton and Michel Varisco are thoughtful evocations of trees as the poetic inflection points of the region's geopsychic terrain. Those images are serendipitously complemented by Natasha Sanchez's evanescent lumen prints of local flora at Julie Neill Designs; although in a very different vein, Stacy Kranitz's photos of fighting cocks and their owners, at the Big Top, provide a psychically complex yet oddly engaging look at Louisiana's once emblematic and now outlawed blood sport. At Cole Pratt, Leslie Addison and George Yerger's sepia prints of old weathered buildings and ghostly vistas convey the timeless elemental qualities of the region and its landscape. Yet, while the ambrotype photographs by Euphus Ruth at the Kevin Gillentine Gallery are related in theme, his uniquely woozy, wet-plate collodion images of the Mississippi Delta suggest surreal flashbacks into the psyche of the place, while hinting at what a Clarence John Laughlin-William Faulkner collaboration might have looked like. At Du Mois Gallery, Kathleen Robbins' straight color documentary images of the Delta provide a yang counterpoint to Ruth's yin. But when it comes to inexplicably dreamy imagery, it's hard to top the Katrina doll X-ray photographs (pictured) by Lisette de Boisblanc at Coup d'Oeil Art Consortium. Her aunt's antique dolls drowned in the floodwater, but an acquaintance just happened to have an old X-ray machine that gave them a haunting new life. Striking works by Grissel Giuliano, Angela Martin Berry, Maggie Covert and Terry DeRoche round out the show. Also striking are the Southern Isolation images by Eric Paul Julien and Anna Hrnjak at Poet's Gallery, and Colin Miller's faux news photos at The Darkroom — but this only scratches the surface of PhotoNOLA's latest imagistic tsunami. — D. Eric Bookhardt

PhotoNOLA 2010: Selected Uptown Venues

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