Announcing an exhibit of
"Fonville's Life and Photography"
at The Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 8 weeks beginning with
a reception on May 17, 2014 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
The public is invited to attend
F O N V I L L E R E T U R N s
Fonville was a Peter Pan, able to dodge the slings and arrows of time better than most. Look at these relics and images and see their shadows. Watch your step. Before you know it, you're looking backward with a melancholy, tripping on time.
Many of the people of Louisiana and the deep south, are immortalized by a favorite, or sometimes, an only picture. The lucky ones had a photo by Fonville. What his portraits now tend to is the poignant record of generations past. Photography moves on, technology moves on. We are left with the blacks and whites of history.
The nature of “our Valentino”, as Ruth Laney so correctly dubbed Fonville, was Peter Pannish. He made movies, flew airplanes, captained cruisers, shot photos, made music and courted beauties all before he was 25. He went on to be an inventor, a gourmet, an artist, a playboy, a notorious bon vivant and a financially secure father and studio operator by 35. His carreer lasted another 50 years until his time was up. He worked almost to the very end. He became an icon, a household name here in his adopted Louisiana, a man of renown. He was adored and he was famous in his lifetime. Even great men seldom are so lucky.
The exhibition has currents and cross currents, showers and squalls. Tears of recognition or sympathy, or of understanding, appreciation and even happiness to go with the smiles. This exhibition has an undercurrent of the passing of time. For some of us, it is more like an undertow.
James R Turner, FAAR, FASLA