E. J Bellocq Research Paper

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E. J. Bellocq was a French creole commercial photographer who was based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 20th century. His photographic work came to light when eighty-nine of his glass plate negatives from the red-light district Storyville were accidentally discovered in 1958 by Lee Friedlander in varying degrees of wear and tear while others appeared to have been intentionally defaced. In 1970, Friedlander would go on to publish a book of prints he had made from Bellocq’s negatives with the aid of the Museum of Modern Art making Bellocq’s fame known and posthumous. Remarkably, these photographs and a series from his work for a World War I shipbuilding company are the only work of Bellocq that are known to exist. (Masters of Photography). Bellocq was born on August 1873 in New Orleans with a privileged…show more content…
No one had their photograph taken without their permission and everyone was willing. It did not appear that he strictly asked them how to pose, but he may have asked them to pose in a way in which they expressed it themselves. He did not appear to be a photographer who looked down on women nor did he show a heavy emphasis on disturbing forms of fetishism. The only disturbing part of this series is how they were discovered to be vandalized. There is speculation that his heavily conservative Jesuit brother, Leo, may have intentionally marred the faces of his subjects out of spite. When Bellocq was in the hospital, he went to his brother’s apartment and poorly stored his negatives. (Smithsonian) It is unlikely that Bellocq ruined his own photographs he took the time to make especially with the amount of respect and trust he had with his subjects. Prostitution is not the greatest occupation but it was one that many women at the time took on to make ends meet, and his brother may have been one of the many who saw prostitution as an evil to society. (Masters of
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