I just came across a sampling of Richard Sexton’s photographs at the Caribbean Studies Association Conference in New Orleans and I looked through a copy of his book—Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere (2014). The photos capture the breathtaking beauty of spaces and people from New Orleans and through the broader Caribbean, sometimes in counterpoint, sometimes paralleled and repeated to show similarities in various geographic places.
As The Historic New Orleans Collection describes, “over the course of 38 years, Sexton traveled across Latin America—from Haiti, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, and Ecuador back home to New Orleans—capturing the architectural and urban similarities among these culturally rich locales. [. . .] In the book, essays by Creole-architecture scholar Jay D. Edwards and photography historian John H. Lawrence set the stage for the more than 200 color images by Sexton. Together, the essays and photographs take readers on a fascinating journey across time and place, through the growing Creole world.”
An art exhibition with the same name was on view at The Historic New Orleans Collection museum from April 15 to December 7, 2014. Now, the traveling exhibition will be on view at the Frost Art Museum of Florida International University from June 13, 2015 to August 23, 2015. Here is the Frost Art Museum’s description:
“New Orleans is often hailed for its distinctive Creole heritage—evident in its food, architecture, and people—but it is far from alone. Its Creoleness may be unique to the United States, but New Orleans is part of an entire family of Latin Caribbean cities with similar colonial histories. Founded as New World outposts of Old World empires, these cities forged new identities from their European, West African, and indigenous influences—by turns inspired by, in defiance of, and adapted from all of them.
Photographer Richard Sexton has been intrigued by the Creole world since he first traveled to Central and South America as a young man. For him, the architectural and urban similarities among Creole cities comprised a visual theme informed by endless variations, grand and humble, old and new. The exhibition features fifty-nine photographs of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Haiti, as well as New Orleans, along with objects, photography equipment, and background material that relate to the photographer’s experiences.”
To learn more about Sexton’s travels and the process behind Creole World, visit his Vimeo channel to watch short videos he made along the way or listen to his interview on Susan Larson’s “The Reading Life.”