thomas neff : just passing through

Thomas Neff, "Elke Duerr," selenium toned silver gelatin print, 20 x 16 in



Just Passing Through comes on the heels of a tumultuous time for photographer Thomas Neff. The collection of works found in this show follow Neff rediscovering himself as a photographer, through portraiture.

His last sabbatical from teaching at Louisiana State University came in 2013. At that time, he was revisiting themes involving the West while also photographing individuals he encountered along the way. He focused on people with their own creative processes in addition to established artists and people who had been important to his own development as an artist. Just a few months later, a stroke would not only affect him physically, but take his ability to speak. Years of rehab and ongoing therapy eventually restored his speech, but as he puts it, “it was photography that opened up new avenues of communication with people.”

Thomas Neff

Thomas Neff

Neff retired from LSU in 2015, after which he and his wife, Sharon, began traveling extensively. During these times on the road, he would share his story with fellow travelers and listen to theirs. The individuals captured in the images that make up this body of work, and the act of communicating with them while on the road, gave Neff the courage to continue his life’s work and inspired him “to find a link in this divided society we now live in - for truly, all of us are “just passing through.”

Last Fall, after nearly a two decade hiatus from the gallery, photographer Thomas Neff was welcomed back to BRG’s artist membership and Just Passing Through marks his first exhibition as an artist member since rejoining the organization.

Over Neff’s fifty-year career as a photographer, he has photographed and exhibited work in Italy, Ireland, Japan, and China, though he may be best known locally for his work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His acclaimed book, Holding Out and Hanging On: Surviving Hurricane Katrina was released by The University of Missouri Press in 2007 compiled meditative and sympathetic black-and-white portraits and interviews with survivors of the storm.

This exhibition is presented alongside the latest works from Malaika Favorite, Frankie Gould, and Margaret Humphris. All works from these four artists are on view, free of charge, during normal gallery hours (12 - 6 p.m., Tue - Sun) through December 27, 2018.