The Long Now: A History of the Place Angola
New Orleans, Louisiana
Deborah Luster is best known for her long-term documentary series One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, a photographic archive of formal portraits of prisoners from three Louisiana prisons, and Tooth for an Eye: A Choreography of Violence in Orleans Parish, a photographic archive of cityscapes documenting locations in New Orleans where homicides have been committed. Twin Palms Publishing published monographs of both collections. She is working on a history project, The Long Now, about the land currently occupied by the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Luster grew up in the Arkansas Ozarks. She studied literature, creative writing, dance, and mime at university, and only began photographing in 1989 as a way of coping with the death of her grandmother and the murder of her mother, both of whom had been passionate amateur photographers.
Joan Mitchell Center Residency, 2020
Following the contract killing of my mother in 1988, I picked up a camera and began to search for a project to aid my recovery from trauma and loss. I have used photography, film, installation, archive, text, and touch to investigate societal violence and its consequences for over two decades.”