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The eye of the storm David Julian Leonard's stunning solo show is dominated by his images of post-Katrina New Orleans. By Moira Jeffrey
[Final Edition]
The Herald - Glasgow (UK)
Author: Jeffrey, Moira
Date: Mar 11, 2006
Start Page: 1
Section: ABC
Abstract (Document Summary)

"I have very strong feelings about New Orleans, " says [David Julian Leonard]. "I have visited many, many times. I come from Memphis and New Orleans is like our sister city to the south. Everybody has friends there, experiences there. My wife and I would often say that, if everything didn't work out, we'd just move to New Orleans. If we just wanted to do what we wanted to do, we'd do it in the city that we liked most."

The old friend thus described is William Eggleston, one of the greatest American photographers of the modern age. It's a little like a Parisian artist being handed his first paint brush by Picasso. If you don't know Eggleston's work you'll certainly know his sensibility. Before Eggleston, American art photography was black and white and concerned with the extremes of either the inner city or the wilderness. After Eggleston, it was in colour, raggedly suburban, interested in clipped lawns, the glow of neon and the gleam of chrome. The saturated colour of David Lynch's Blue Velvet, the shaky skies of Gus Van Sant, the entire feel of Sofia Copolla's debut, The Virgin Suicides, all owe debts to Eggleston. He is second only to Edward Hopper as an artist who has shaped the movies. His inf luence now permeates everything from fine art to fashion.

Leonard's own work is more than capturing shapes, as the raw emotion he displays over New Orleans clearly demonstrates. We talk about the controversy over whether the Bush administration could have done more to deal with the disaster. "I don't think he could have stopped it, " Leonard says. "What Bush does for show when he talks to the press is one thing, but what Bush ever does is another thing. It only has to do with helping corporations and rich people, not poor people."

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