Sunday, October 29, 2017

SHADOWS AT THE SHADOWS

Shadows on the Teche photo by
Victoria Sullivan
According to Morris Raphael’s book about Weeks Hall, former owner of The Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana, the “master” of The Shadows was an excellent photographer and “anyone with a Leica camera had a passport to The Shadows…Weeks owned two Leicas and was a pioneer of sorts in the field of color photography…Weeks did such brilliant work with the camera that the Eastman Kodak Company recognized his talent [by providing] him with certain film and processes and regarded him as one of their experimental people…”* If Hall were alive today, he’d have given James Edmunds several passports to the Shadows for his work in “Shadows at the Shadows,” an arresting gallery of color photographs now on exhibit at New Iberia’s famous National Trust mansion on the Bayou Teche.

I must make the disclaimer that I’m not a professional art critic, but I can tell when a photographer has a “good eye,” and Edmunds’ work surpasses that general evaluation of his photography. The exhibit ranges from a stunning photograph, “Shapes and Shadows,” that features a huge olive jar formerly displayed in Weeks Hall’s garden to an unusual shot of the “Floor at Bergamot” in New York City. Photographs of landscapes, rooms, bridges, the moon, courthouses, and, of course, Edmunds’ favorite subject, his lovely wife Susan (“She mesa me smile” shot with a NIKON D5100) are handsomely framed and hanging on the walls of a room in the Visitor’s Center at The Shadows. The exhibit formally opened October 21 but will be featured through November 28, 2017. 

Most of Edmunds’ photographs were taken on an iPhone 7+, and Edmunds will be leading a workshop,”Phone Eye: Making the Most of the Camera in Your Smart Device,” on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at The Shadows. Edmunds’ skill with this device is evident in 18 of the 54 photographs featured, but his proficiency with SONY and NIKON cameras equals his mastery of the Smart device. I was impressed with his ability to capture the shadowy rooms and grounds of the famous National Trust property, and my favorites among these photographs are entitled “Night Gallery” and “Pantry.” 

I’ve observed Edmunds’ career since the 70’s when he emerged as a photographer, and have watched him expand his skills to include work as publisher of a newspaper, writer, filmmaker, musical producer, art critic — a regular Renaissance man.  I’m particularly impressed with his advances in photography. He shares many of his arresting photographs on Facebook where I first noticed his work recording shadowy forms in equally shadowy rooms.

Edmunds and his wife, Susan, have become avid travelers since Susan’s retirement from her work as Public Relations Director at the Iberia Parish Library.  Susan, a naturalist, is also developing her talents as a nature photographer. She and James spend weeks touring small towns in the U.S., as well as the larger cities of New York and San Francisco and have a kind of Whitmanesque appreciation for the American scene. They are among New Iberia’s most talented couples and have contributed much to the culture of the Queen City on the Teche. I also think that Edmunds has helped to live out Weeks Hall’s wish for the Shadows-on-the-Teche: “…Its inherent charm to me has been its placid seclusion from a changing world, and in that will be its value to others. This quality must be preserved…”* 


*Weeks Hall, The Master of the Shadows by Morris Raphael


Post a Comment