Bayou Blues:

A Photographer's Journey in South Louisiana

Bayou Blues is a feature-length documentary that chronicles Joel Pickford's decade-long photographic odyssey in Southern Louisiana. Currently in postproduction, the film explores the people, places and stories behind Joel's remarkable black & white images. The camera follows Joel as he treks deep into the Cat Island Swamp to photograph the nation's largest living cypress tree. It captures him at work inside Angola State Penitentiary, an 18,000 acre prison farm where 83 percent of the inmates are serving life sentences. It probes the mysteries of aging plantation homes, still inhabited by ancestors of the families who built them. It explores the historic River Road, where petrochemical plants have replaced sugar plantations as the economic engines of the region. Finally, it exposes the impending environmental disaster of the state's rapidly vanishing coastal wetlands. Integrating many black & white still photographs with color footage and live Cajun, Zydeco, jazz and blues performances, the film is a total sensory experience and a visually-driven essay on the process and meaning of documentary photography.

The project is currently in postproduction

Check out the companion project, the exhibition Le Monde Créole: Photographs of Southern Louisiana.