A photograph of Clarence John Laughlin in 1968 by Joseph de Casseres is part of the High Museum collection.

A new exhibition, “Strange Light: The Photography of Clarence John Laughlin,” will offer an overview of the artist, dubbed the “Father of American Surrealism,”  May 11 through Nov. 10 at the High Museum of Art.

The High, which boasts the largest monographic holdings of Laughlin’s work, will showcase the Southern photographer’s signature photographs between 1935 and 1965. Many of the prints will be on view for the first time since they were acquired by the High in 2015.

Laughlin considered himself a writer first and a photographer second, and he saw image making as a form of visual poetry. Known primarily for his atmospheric depictions of the decaying antebellum architecture that proliferated in his hometown of New Orleans, Laughlin approached photography with a romantic, experimental eye that diverged strongly from the style of his peers, who championed realism and social documentary.

For more information, visit high.org.

Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905–1985), Water Witch, 1939, printed 1940, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase, 1978.63. © The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.