NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA– Sitting firmly between Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and Commander’s Palace is the photography gallery of David Spielman, a photographer with a heart for New Orleans’ charm.
“I picked up a camera when I was 15. I started realizing that this was how I was going to be able to tell my story… I would do it through pictures,” says David Spielman; who, for close to 50 years, has been a part of New Orleans.
In 2018, he set out take 300th-year-old birthday pictures of New Orleans. He did so much more than that. “All I have to do is be out there with my eyes open because the whole city is a stage. It is a reservoir of inspiration.”
Among his many cameras, is a favorite of his, a Leica that he uses to capture golden moments throughout the narrative of scenes in the Crescent City. This year, he releases a new book entitled: New Orleans Portrayed, with 114 images.
The cover image has the mantra of his book, showing how unorthodox and mysterious days can be. It is an image of Commander’s Palace with three unique characters nonchalantly waiting outside.
“There’s a fella on stilts, a girl is dressed up as a ballerina and I’m guessing this guy is Abe Lincoln. They aren’t even paying any attention to each other. As a matter of fact the guy on stilts is looking in his cell phone,” says Spielman.
His book carries a much deeper sentiment than what is at it’s cover. It captures the city on the eve of a world-wide pandemic. All of the beautiful people, and businesses are in tact, with some iconic characters passing on before the book was able to be published, well before the coronavirus. The book will be a snapshot of New Orleans, before yet another tale of trajedy and renewal is added to the story.
“It’s haunting when you drive around and see these places that are closed and boarded up and you wonder how are they going to survive, but I know New Orleans will. I wanted to capture New Orleans but you can’t do it all in one. You can’t just have one picture. I’ve got 114 of them to help create an image of what this marvelous place is all about.”
David’s photographs will be donated to the Historic New Orleans Collection. To purchase a copy of his book, you can click here.