Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Jimmy Domengeaux Chats about His Louisiana Wetlands Photography Exhibition - Jimmy Domengeaux - Wetlands - Interview


"Jimmy Domengeaux on the other hand cut through the crap and stated rather succinctly the reason he photographs Louisiana wetlands..."


Jimmy Domengeaux Chats about His Louisiana Wetlands Photography Exhibition - Jimmy Domengeaux - Wetlands - Interview

One of the pleasures of writing about art is you get to endure long-winded overly-intellectualized artist statements.  Jimmy Domengeaux on the other hand cut through the crap and stated rather succinctly the reason he photographs Louisiana wetlands.  He photographs the state’s bayous, marshes and estuaries because he wants “the rest of the world to see the beauty of our own God Given wetlands.”

Louisiana’s wetlands are indescribably beautiful, and for the most part unknown to others.  With Jimmy’s new photography website however the world can experience captivating images of bayous, swamps and marshes.  And you can see Jimmy’s wetland images exhibited in Jimmy Domengeaux - Wetlands at the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge Louisiana 70809, from November 1 to December 27, 2019.  There will be a reception with the artist attending on Thursday November 14, 2019, from 3-6 pm.


A few words about image titles for those unfamiliar with Louisiana wetlands.  Some titles straight-forwardly describe the photographic subject, Bayou Benoit Day’s End for example denotes a central Atchafalaya Basin watercourse.  Other titles stack associations onto the photographed scene.  Chitimacha Sunset for instance bows to the Chitimacha Indians who live in the Charenton area of the Basin, with indigenous roots reaching back thousands of years.  Quintana broadens to the exploration and production companies that built access and pipeline canals through the wetlands.  Tupelo Honey evokes Jimmy’s love of music, as well as a species of hard-wood tree, which like the bald cypress, thrives in the swampy environments.  Into the Mystic calls up travels in Ireland and possibly meditates on our existential predicament.  Deeply personal, Beau Soleil Pour Jerome, processes the loss of family members.


Jimmy Domengeaux has been practicing law for 33 years.  At his firm Domengeaux Wright Roy and Edwards, he has an extensive general trial practice including the areas of Maritime Personal Injury, Civil Rights Violations, Constitutional issues, Longshore Workers’ Compensation and automobile accidents.  His lifetime fascination with the Atchafalaya Basin and marshes of South Louisiana instilled a compulsion to photograph and share with others.  So I decided it would be fun to a show some of the website and exhibition images, and to ask Jimmy a few questions:

Virginia Billeaud Anderson: Honey Child, I'm losing my composure thinking about how many years it’s been since we were in school together, and you were friendly with my younger brothers.  One of your images of an algae-covered waterway brought a 45 year old memory of shenanigans in the Basin, the boat supplied with chocolate chip cookies, a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of Jack Daniels.  How many images will you show at Louisiana State Archives?

Jimmy Domengeaux: At the exhibit in Baton Rouge there will be 27 images presented; all nicely matted and framed by my curator Herman Mhire.

VBA: Exhibition viewers will be interested in knowing image dimensions.  What size are the printed images?

JD: We printed one set of photos 11.25” x 15” and another set 22” x 29.”

VBA: Did you produce a book or catalogue to accompany the show?

JD: I haven’t put together a coffee table book yet, but do plan on doing so.  I do have a nice slideshow of the images on my website with an original fiddle rendition by the great Cajun Musician, Michael Doucet.

VBA: Do you photograph with cell phone or camera?

JD: Honestly, most of the images on my website are with an I-7 plus camera.  I do have several taken with my Canon EO5.

VBA: Do you digitally alter the images, use Photoshop, for instance?

JD: Some of the photos are cleaned up to take out an obnoxious limb from time to time along with some general enhancement.


VBA: How many times have you fallen out of the boat?

JD: I only fell out of my boat a couple of times, and luckily at the bow while working the trolling motor.  Nothing serious.

VBA: Jesus Christ Jimmy, and you’re a seasoned sportsman.  It makes the point that wetlands are not entirely safe.  Particularly for the inexperienced who don’t know what the hell they’re doing.  The Basin’s sheer size is a factor.  So are its constantly changing features, flood waters inundate, sedimentation and siltation alter surface structure, at very high water levels, boats literally move through tree tops.  Not to mention the bloody snakes.  Louis once encountered a black bear staring at him from a sandbar.  Equipment failure can be disastrous, Billy was stranded in the Basin, but was luckily found the next day by a search helicopter.  Ever had anything “BAD” happen?

JD: Knock on wood, I’ve never had any serious mishaps in the swamp other than a few near misses, and hitting stumps at full clip.  I’ve been turned around in the swamp, several times at dark.  In fact, it happened a couple of weeks ago at night.  I managed to find my way out with my compass.

VBA: When did you begin regularly photographing?

JD: I started regularly photographing the great Atchafalaya Basin along with some marshes in Vermilion Parish about 4 years ago.  95% of the time I am hunting and/or fishing and I take photos during these activities.  I believe the Swamp which has been abused for many years and taken for granted should be experienced.  It’s our natural heritage and a huge part of our culture.  It is one of the most liberating and beautiful places in the United States.

VBA: Busy with your law practice, it must be challenging to find time for these rituals, although I’ve noticed Louisiana sportsmen tend to be creative at coordinating business with hunting and fishing.  How often are you in the Basin or marshes?

JD: I work a lot but manage to get to the swamp or Marsh just about every weekend.  Also after work presents quick opportunities to capture an extraordinary sunset like only the Basin and God can provide.


Image Titles:

Jimmy Domengeaux, Bayou Benoit Day's End, 2016, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux, Lake Martin Peninsula, 2018, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux, South Bay Patin, 2019, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux, Prairie Marsh, 2018, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux, Cajun Sequoia, 2017, ink jet print
Jimmy Domangeaux Swamp Pic 8-15-19
Jimmy Domengeaux, Into the mystic, 2019, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux, Silhouetted Trees, 2019, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux, Chitimacha Sunset, 2019, ink jet print
Jimmy Domengeaux and Roux in Marsh 9-28-19

www.jimmydomengeaux.com/
@jimmydomengeaux
https://www.facebook.com/jimmy.domengeaux


(Recent Louisiana-themed Articles readers might enjoy)

Rejiggering Blue Dog Café, George Rodrigue, Approachable Annie Café and Bar
https://www.boudinandbourbon.com/2019/10/rejiggering-blue-dog-cafe-george.html

Mick Jagger at the Menil Collection, Marcello’s Italian Food, and Bobby Keys’ Saxophone
https://www.boudinandbourbon.com/2019/08/mick-jagger-at-menil-collection.html

Long Live Irma Thomas
https://www.boudinandbourbon.com/2019/07/long-live-irma-thomas.html

Notes on van Gogh’s Irises, Walter Annenberg, Louisiana Politics Essay
https://www.boudinandbourbon.com/2019/05/notes-on-irises-essay.html

4 comments:

  1. Jimmy is a darn good fly fisherman as wells a great guy. "Life is Good on the Fly!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those are such beautiful photos! Thanks for telling us about Jimmy Domengeaux and his work.

    ReplyDelete