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E.J. Bellocq

E.J. Bellocq (1873-1949) remains an ambiguous figure in history. Following his death in 1949, eighty-nine glass plate negatives of portraits of female prostitutes from New Orleans’ Storyville district were found in his desk. All of the images were taken circa 1912. Photographer Lee Friedlander acquired them and made contact prints of the 8 x 10 negatives on the same gold toned printing-out paper that Bellocq used in his rare prints. Friedlander is credited with salvaging and promoting the work. The mystery surrounding the photographs and the personality of E.J. Bellocq is furthered by the fact that many of the plates were cracked, scratched, or damaged at the time when Friedlander acquired them. E.J. Bellocq: Storyville Portraits and Bellocq are two monographs that illustrate this work.