Writer Brent Battles sees a boy carrying a bass drum as a sax player. And the blonde approaching him is Emma, from one of the school’s spirit groups.
“I think the saxophone is cool,” she says. Six little words.
Battles is one of 27 writers who penned essays to accompany William Greiner’s photographs in the exhibit “Show & Tell — William Greiner” that runs through Oct. 20 in the LSU School of Art’s Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery.
Greiner moved from New Orleans to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His photos of New Orleans before and after the storm have since been exhibited at the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum.
“But this is the first gallery show for this exhibit,” Greiner says. “I booked the exhibit before I had a publisher for the book, which was a gamble on my part.”
The book, “Show & Tell,” was published this month by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. The book features the 28 photos and essays in this exhibit.
“The photos are from different series I’ve worked on in the past,” he says. “They were taken throughout the world.”
Some of the writers, meanwhile, are Greiner’s friends. And others are friends of his friends.
“One is a thriller writer,” Greiner says. “He’s also the man in the photo holding the handgun. He asked some friends in his thriller circle to get involved, and, of course, a lot of the characters in their essays die. There are some essays by ad writers, and some are by screenwriters.”
In the end, each writer brings his or her perspective to the photo, many times resulting in something totally different from what Greiner was seeing when he took the photos.
“The idea for the project, ‘Show &Tell,’ was born out of a print trade I did with another photographer years ago,” Greiner writes in his artist’s statement. “She had chosen a photograph of mine that showed the hands of a woman, a young girl and a rag doll resting upon an open book with the image of a woman’s torso visible. When I made the picture, my thoughts reflected a notion of womanhood, aging, child birthing and life cycles. Sometime later, this friend confided that she interpreted the picture as having something to do with child molestation. I was shocked by her comment, but it made me realize that we all bring our own knowledge, experiences, and references to all we view in the world.”
Greiner compares the exhibit concept to the Beatles’ song, “Norwegian Wood.”
“I don’t know what Lennon and McCartney were thinking when they wrote it, and I don’t want to know,” he says. “The song means something born of my own experiences and desire, which I am positive is different from theirs’. I feel this way about photography, in that I am interested in viewers’ interpretations of my work, but I have no desire to reveal my intentions.”
Next up for Greiner is the exhibit, “Leaving Love Field,” which follows President John F. Kennedy’s route through Dallas to Dealey Plaza on the day of his assassination.
The show will premiere in the Photograhps Do Not Bend Gallery in Dallas on Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death.