About

  3. Leica 2. Dennis

BIOGRAPHY

I never know whether to call myself a lawyer/photographer or a photographer/lawyer. What I do know is that from as far back as I can remember I have been visualizing and framing images in my mind. I didn’t get my first camera until I was 21 years old, though…a black Minolta SRT 101.

I consider myself primarily a black & white photographer who photographs things he observes in life. Occasionally I shoot color.

Although I am coming to terms with digital photography, I still prefer to use a manual, rangefinder film camera…a Leica, of course. When I’m not shooting with a DSLR, I use a Leica M6 with a 50mm f2 Summicron lens.

While there have been, and still are, many great  photographers who were observers of life and whose work I’ve admired, my earliest, greatest and continuing influence is Henri Cartier-Bresson. I admire his elegant and precise compositions and, of course, his sense of timing. I can look at his images over and over again and never grow tired of looking at them…and it always amazes me how he was able to compose such images on the fly. I’ve also admired the work of Elliott Erwitt and I suspect that we share a similar twisted sense of humor. From Ernst Haas I learned how dynamic and dramatic can color and movement be.

I started showing my work before Hurricane Katrina, which struck in August, 2005. Having mandatorily evacuated the city I nevertheless snuck back into New Orleans days later and paddled two miles to rescue my cat at our home which had taken 12 feet of water. I forgot to bring drinking water with me that day…but I brought my camera. I started shooting the devastating aftermath of the storm that day and continued shooting regularly for months afterwards…often crawling through muck and demolished houses. Having lost everything in the storm it was my form of therapy.

With the help and encouragement of the artist George Rodrigue and his wife Wendy, I put together a video compilation of my Katrina images, “Stillness…the aftermath of Katrina”, which drew the attention of John Bullard, who was then the Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art. John hung two of my Katrina images at an important exhibit in New York, ”Two Centuries Of Art In Louisiana From The Battle Of New Orleans To Katrina”, and played my Katrina video on a continuous loop. Mine were the only Katrina images in the show. It was a thrill and an honor to see my work hanging alongside that of some of the most famous artists in history. But my biggest thrill was that my work hung along with that of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

After that my photographs have been seen in numerous group shows across the country. In January, 2007, I had my first solo show, ”As Seen On The Street…New York”, at Barrister’s Gallery in New Orleans. Thank you, my friend, Andy Antippas.

I hope you enjoy the collection of images I’ve gathered here. Maybe you’ll laugh…maybe you’ll feel like crying. But that’s the point. I hope my photographs move you in some way.

Thank you for visiting.

 

DENNIS  COUVILLION

Photographer/Lawyer