By Ellie Gardner
In 1954 the Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS) convened its first meeting in the Old State Capital. 60 years later, the LPS is back in the same building—only this time they’re the featured artists in a new photography exhibition, “Light Up Louisiana.”
“We are all very excited to be exhibiting in the Old State Capital, especially considering our history with the building,” said Kathy Reeves, exhibit coordinator of ‘Light Up Louisiana.’ “It’s a very happy coincidence.”
Featuring over 100 photographs from 40 local photographers, “Light Up Louisiana” seeks to capture the local beauty of Louisiana—especially Baton Rouge and the Old State Capital building—in a fresh and innovative way.
“We wanted a variety of pictures, and since we have excellent photographers involved, we tried to get a lot of unique pictures: photos with interesting lighting and unusual angles,” said Reeves.
The idea for the exhibit began with the Old State Capital staff, who asked the LPS to photograph the historic building and display the photos—along with other Louisiana-themed pictures—in their gallery for a two-month exhibit.
Reeves was very pleased with the access the LPS was given to the Old State Capital grounds. “They took us to places we didn’t even know existed. We went into the basement, and we climbed all the ladders. Some people even took pictures above the dome. It was just fascinating – with such interesting history!”
According to Reeves, about 30 percent of the exhibit is dedicated to images of the Old State Capital Building, and an even more significant portion features photos of Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. From swamp landscapes tand state buildings, to shrimp boats along the bayou, the exhibit boasts a vibrant and varied collection of photos hand-picked by a committee of seasoned LPS photographers, including Kathy Reeves herself.
“We asked members to submit at least six photographs. Some people submitted a lot more, and we went through them all looking for the best of the best,” Reeves added.
For those not familiar, the Louisiana Photographic Society is an organization of photography enthusiasts who strive to promote and to encourage the art of photography in Louisiana. The LPS is a Baton Rouge centered organization that includes 180+ members from all over Louisiana. They host monthly meetings that take place at the Baton Rouge Garden Center, which often include lectures and tutorials. The LPS also organizes monthly competitions, classes, and frequent fieldtrips.
“It’s a great place to learn; that’s what we’re there for, to promote photography. From professional photographers to the novice who just bought their first camera, we welcome everyone and are always looking for new members.”
That said, when the exhibit debuts this Thursday evening, not only will there be gorgeous photographs by published professionals, but there will also be pictures taken by newcomers to the photography scene. “We always encourage everyone to submit their photos and support all members,” Reeves added.
In combination with the exhibit, the LPS will also host a workshop for anyone interested in photography on September 13. Professional photographers Clay Coleman, Mark LaGrange, and Steve Uffman will lead the workshop, where they will talk about their work, answer questions, and offer tips for anyone interested in photography.
“They are fabulous!” Reeves gushed, “I cannot believe each and every one of them agreed to participate. They are just so impressive.”
“Light Up Louisiana” is sure to be a feast for the eyes and perfect for anyone interested in art, photography, The Old State Capital Building, or the lovely sites of Baton Rouge and/or Louisiana.
Looking back on her experiences photographing the Old State Capital, Reeves, whose photos will appear in the exhibit, added, “We learned so much about the Old State Capital. We all became very attached. The photographs started to mean a lot more to all of us, and I think you can definitely see that in the exhibit.”
“Light Up Louisiana” debuts this Thursday evening with an opening reception and art sale hosted by the Old State Capital and Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Shedler. The event lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibit runs from July 24th to September 20th, with a photography workshop on September 13. All events are free and open to the public.