Clarence John Laughlin
 
 

Clarence John Laughlin

The Improbable Dome, 1964, printed 1979
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Lucinda W. Bunnen for the Bunnen Collection
1981.89

Clarence John Laughlin, a renowned self-taught twentieth-century photographer from New Orleans, worked during the Great Depression as a Works Progress Administration American Building Survey photographer. Between 1935 and 1965, Laughlin captured seventeen thousand large-format negatives in Louisiana. This piece is from the initial purchase of twenty-six Laughlin prints that began the Bunnen Collection at the High.

Nicholas Nixon, The Brown Sisters, 1979
Nicholas Nixon
The Brown Sisters, 1979
Gelatin silver print
Promised gift of Lucinda W. Bunnen for the Bunnen Collection
© Nicholas Nixon, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Thirty years ago, the High unveiled the establishment of the Bunnen Collection – a major group of photographs put together on behalf of the Museum by Atlanta photographer and philanthropist Lucinda W. Bunnen. Working in collaboration with a small group of peers in the community, Bunnen had assembled a world class holding meant to establish the High as one of the nation's premiere collecting institutions for contemporary photography and to provide Atlanta with an inspirational resource.

Beginning with a purchase of 26 Clarence John Laughlin photographs, Bunnen's collecting focused on new work by living photographers of the day, highlighting internationally renowned figures alongside those celebrated regionally. The collection was first shown and published at the High in 1983 in a project titled Subjective Vision. Since that time, Bunnen has continued to support the growth of the High's photography collection in a significant way, adding hundreds of prints to the Collection, which now comprises more than 650 works. Her extraordinary gifts over the years yielded some of the Museum's rarest and most valuable photographs, including prints by Edward Weston, Sally Mann, Cindy Sherman, William Wegman, Chuck Close, Lucas Samaras, William Eggleston, and the work of Bunnen herself.

This exhibition presents a selection of significant works from the Bunnen Collection, showcasing the Museum's rich photography holdings and celebrating the incredible legacy of one of the South's most dedicated arts advocates.