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HRAC features regional photographer

By Megan Ferrando
On January 31, 2014

  • Before heading to Orlando, the Lionettes showed off their routines at halftime during a basketball double header. Nicole Koster

Hammond Regional Arts Center will feature photographer Charles Martin's work for their February Exhibit and Lunch Lecture entitled "Perique: Photographs by Charles Martin," which will be on display from Feb. 7 through Feb. 28.
Martin has documented centuries-old tobacco-growing traditions of St. James Parish in southeast Louisiana for eight years now.  Martin's father was a farmer, so he grew up around tobacco growing and discovered photography as a good way to preserve the traditions and trade.
"I'm just trying to make them aware of another unique culture of southeast Louisiana.  It's just one more piece of the puzzle that I think needs some awareness," said Martin.  "On that project I was just trying to portray the message of quality work through generations and on standard photography I just do it because I love it and I'm just trying to promote Louisiana scenic."  
The exhibition will include 40 black and white images and an exhibition catalog for $25 which includes Martin's photos and essays by Mary Ann Sternberg and John H. Lawrence.
 "He's a well-respected, local landscape photographer. Part of the arts center's mission is introducing regionally and nationally significant artists," said Joe Brown, member of the gallery committee.  "This particular collection of photographs seems to be a bit of a departure in that it's more documentary in nature, and documentary photography isn't something that we've shown a lot of in the past."
The new exhibit will open as part of the Downtown Hammond Art Walk on Friday, Feb. 7, with Martin present to meet the public from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The opening reception will have wine and refreshments.  
As part of the Downtown Hammond Art Walk, the opening will be one of many stops to other art exhibits downtown, live music, dining and entertainment.  HRAC's Gallery Gifts shop will include handmade leather masks by Daphne Hebert and specially priced jewelry.  There will also be a fashion show for the handmade leather masks.
"Our Downtown Hammond Art Walk is a joint effort of HRAC and DDD Hammond," said Mike Kilgore, executive director of HRAC.  "Its purpose is to create public art installations and exhibits as part of a night of art, culture, dining and entertainment all within walking distance in Downtown Hammond."
Martin will discuss his work during the Lunch Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and will be available to sign his catalogs.
"I will talk about the growing process of tobacco from beginning to end," said Martin.
For more information about HRAC and the exhibit email or visit

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