Published by The Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Edited by Kathryn E. Delmez. Text by Susan H. Edwards, Makeda Djata Best, Deborah Willis.
Louisiana Medley celebrates the 30-year collaboration of photographers Keith Calhoun (born 1955) and Chandra McCormick (born 1957). Partners in life and work, the two have worked together to document African American life in and around their native New Orleans. Calhoun and McCormick’s photographs show the artists in tune with each other as well as the rich complexity of Louisiana identity, from the local street culture and parades of their city to life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, locally known as “Angola.” Their intimate understanding of labor practices and prison culture has informed their activism, around Angola and outside its walls. The photographers’ activism—and their appreciation for their city’s stubborn, fragile beauty—has only grown since Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana Medley surveys Calhoun and McCormick’s work over the course of three decades, revealing how the two photographers have used their cameras as tools for social engagement.