This remarkable book, first published twenty years ago, continues to offer a singular window into the customs, politics, and places of twentieth-century Louisiana. This dazzling collection of landscapes and portraits drawn from the lifework of internationally renowned photographer Fonville Winans (1911–1992) grants readers the opportunity to see his memorable photographs of the people―from oystermen to beauty queens―and the places―from salt mines to cane fields―that exemplify the Pelican State’s enchanting culture and ecology.
Featuring more than 100 black-and-white photographs spanning Winans’ career, this book showcases his eye for authenticity as he captures a wide array of subjects, from politicians to ordinary citizens, and exotic locales to classic Louisiana landscapes. Providing commentary and historical background, Cyril E. Vetter contextualizes Winans’ popular images of the state’s icons, including Huey P. Long and Edwin Edwards; depictions of festival revelers and fishing rodeos; and glimpses into the Creole and Cajun communities that skirted the Gulf Coast. Yet the photographer’s most critical legacy, as Vetter contends in a new introduction, may lie in his scenes of swamps and seascapes that either no longer exist or are currently threatened with extinction.
Both nostalgic and refreshing, the perceptive and intriguing images found in Fonville Winans’ Louisiana feature the state at its best, as a place of diversity and distinction.