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Deborah Luster

Photographer Deborah Luster eloquently focuses her lens on ugly realities of life in Louisiana: crime and violence.

Deborah Luster

Courtesy of Deborah Luster

Zelphea Adams. Luster, Deborah (artist)

Deborah Luster eloquently focuses her lens on ugly realities of life in Louisiana: crime and violence. Living with her grandparents in Arkansas after her parents divorced, Luster communicated with her mother via photography, mailing pictures of new coats and other details of a girl’s life. After her mother was murdered, Luster’s view of life was profoundly altered. While scouting locations in Northeast Louisiana in the late 1990s, Luster’s repeated encounters with prisons—in the state that leads the nation in the rate of the incarceration of its citizens—inspired the portraiture series and book One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana. In 2011, Luster published Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish, a photographic documentation of homicide sites in New Orleans.