Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



In this thesis I examine the contextual framework in which New Orleans photographer E.J. Bellocqs Storyville Portraits have been placed, and resituate Bellcoq's oeuvre in a vernacular context. Bellocq was a commercial photographer working in the nineteen-teens who photographed the prostitutes of New Orleans red light district, Storyville. After his death, Lee Friedlander purchased these now damaged negatives and reprinted the full plates, and in 1970 MOMA exhibited Friedlander's new prints in a formulaic, modernist fashion. The Storyville Portrait's recontexualization by MOMA, converted them from commercial erotic advertisements for prostitution in Storyville to fine art photographs, raises issues of how the placement of private pictures in the fine art museum. Through aestheticizing these photographs, they also lose their values as historical document, and as some of the only remaining cultural patrimony of the now lost Storyville district of New Orleans.'



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Buick, Kirsten

Second Committee Member

Meggan, Gould


Art Historty, History of Photography, American Art, Museum Studies