Photographer George Long is a well-known chronicler of New Orleans street culture, locales, events, and people.
George Long, well-known photographic chronicler of New Orleans scenes, events, and people, was born in Washington, D.C., in 1954, to then-Congressman Gillis Long and Cathy Long. He graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1978 and established a photography business in the city after working for several years in television production. His photographs encompass documentary, landscape, and fine art genres, as well as commercial subjects.
From 2006 to 2009, Long exhibited his fine art and documentary photographs of New Orleans places and people in his Magazine Street gallery. Drawing on the unique street culture of the city and the places and events that people associate with New Orleans, Long’s collection includes images of the Mississippi River, St. Louis Cathedral, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and the 1984 World’s Fair. His photograph Ruthie gives the duck a bath in the fountain, 1984, is a sympathetic and humorous portrayal of one of the city’s favorite street characters.
Long’s fine art photographs include images of New Orleans festivals, parades, cemeteries, and other scenes made with a Cibachrome and Polaroid transfer process. The muted colors of the transfer prints made on watercolor paper have an antique look and a romantic mood that “capture the mystery of New Orleans,” Long has said.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Long produced Katrina Days (2007), a book that vividly portrays the destruction wrought by the storms and the effort to rebuild New Orleans during the following two years. His photographs of devastated neighborhoods, discarded refrigerators, cars on top of houses, and flood-ravaged parks serve as powerful reminders of the enormous challenges faced by New Orleanians as they struggled to reclaim their city.
During a ceremony at the United Nations in 2006, the International Photographic Council presented Long with the ASMP/IPC Leadership Award. The citation noted that in the aftermath of Katrina, Long “worked selflessly and tirelessly to help [his] fellow photographers in the face of enormous odds.”
Long’s travels throughout the United States and Europe are chronicled in his carefully composed landscape studies. In White horse under full moon, Huelva, Spain, a solitary horse glows in the moon’s pink light. Many of his urban landscapes are made from extreme angles to give viewers unexpected views of familiar places. In Gargoyles above Notre Dame, Cathedral, Paris, viewers look straight up at the celebrated creatures, while in Fifth Avenue, New York City, Long presents a the famed street from a dizzyingly high perspective.
His portrait of Lindy Boggs, former U.S. Representative and Ambassador to the Vatican, can be seen on the cover of Boggs’ memoir, Washington Through a Purple Veil (1994). Other notable Louisianans photographed by Long include chefs Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme, and artist George Rodrigue.
Long has played an important leadership role in the New Orleans photographic community, having served as president of both the New Orleans Photo Alliance and the New Orleans/Gulf South Chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. His images have been exhibited frequently at galleries in New Orleans and Alexandria, Louisiana, and in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Katrina Exposed exhibition in 2007.