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A Sojourn in Paradise
A Sojourn in Paradise by Howard Philips Smith
by Howard Philips Smith

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Price: $50.00

Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi (June 2020)


New in dust jacket.

A celebration of the New Orleans life and early career of famed fashion photographer Jack Robinson

Jack Robinson made his name as a much-sought-after fashion and celebrity photographer during the 1960s and early 1970s, and his work is well documented in hundreds of pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Life, as well as other publications. However, his personal life remains virtually unknown.

In this study of Robinson and his photography, Howard Philips Smith takes an in-depth look at Robinson’s early life in New Orleans, where he discovered his passion for painting, photography, and the Dixie Bohemian life of the French Quarter. A Sojourn in Paradise: Jack Robinson in 1950s New Orleans features more than one hundred photographs taken by the artist, accompanied by detailed commentary about Robinson’s life in New Orleans and excerpts from interviews with the people who knew him when he lived there.

Robinson’s photographs of New Orleans reveal the genesis of two unique and fascinating facets of the city’s history and culture: the creation of the first gay Carnival krewes who would make their own unique contribution to the rich cultural history of the city and the formation of the Orleans Gallery, one of the earliest centers of the contemporary art movement blossoming in 1950s America.

This detailed study of Jack Robinson’s early life and photography illustrates the contributions of a gifted, gay artist whose quiet spirit and constant interior struggle found refuge in New Orleans, the city where he was able to find himself, for a time, free from society’s grip and open to exploring life on his own terms.

Howard Philips Smith grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi and attended the University of Southern Mississippi and the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon. He began writing about pre-AIDS New Orleans and the gay ball scene during the early 1980s, the so-called Golden Age of Gay Carnival. He is author of Unveiling the Muse: The Lost History of Gay Carnival in New Orleans, published by University Press of MIssissippi, and coauthor of Southern Decadence in New Orleans. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and three cats.

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