Founded at a time when photography was only beginning to secure a foothold both in museum collections and in the art market at large, A Gallery for Fine Photography is a living landmark in the history of photography. Located in the Historic New Orleans French Quarter, A Gallery opened its doors in 1973, a world away from the cornerstones of the global contemporary art scene. Thanks to the staunchly independent vision of its founder, Joshua Mann Pailet, A Gallery has remained a haven for photography, from the earliest photographs to contemporary pieces. Over more than four decades in business, A Gallery for Fine Photography has established itself as one of the most respected photography galleries in America – one that has flourished despite an ever-changing art world by remaining true to itself and Pailet’s unique perspective.
A Gallery for Fine Photography quickly made a name for itself with its first solo exhibition: a 1975 retrospective featuring the work of Ansel Adams, one of the godfathers of American photography. Today, more than forty years later, the gallery has come to resemble a museum for sale – both in the breadth and quality of its collection and in its mission to preserve and honor the history of the photographic medium. An alternative to the sterile, white-walled galleries of the contemporary art world, A Gallery, much like the French Quarter itself, effortlessly blends the historic and the vanguard. The gallery hopes to inspire the passions and curiosities of each person who walks through the door, from curious tourists to seasoned collectors and world-renowned curators. A Gallery continues to maintain an inventory featuring some of the most celebrated photographers of the last two centuries while mounting regular exhibitions of contemporary photographers from New Orleans and throughout the world.
Joshua Mann Pailet
Joshua Mann Pailet is a documentary photographer and gallerist who has been one of the most significant figures of the photography community in his native New Orleans for forty-five years. While studying Finance at Rice University, he enrolled in a Photography class and saw an interest develop into a passion that would change the course of his life. With the help of his Photography professor and mentor, Eve Sonneman, he installed his first photography exhibition at Rice University in 1972. His work attracted the attention of Dominique and John DeMenil of the DeMenil Foundation, who purchased a collection of his work and encouraged him to pursue photography full-time. From then on, Pailet seldom went anywhere without his trusted Nikon 35mm camera, capturing who and what he saw while traveling throughout America and the world. Still with his Nikon in-hand, Pailet has amassed a catalogue of over 400,000 images, focused on capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments that include monographs on the 1976 American Freedom Train, The 1984 World’s Fair, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the USA.
Soon after graduating from Rice, Pailet returned to his birthplace of New Orleans and opened A Gallery for Fine Photography on Magazine Street. A founding member of AIPAD, Pailet strongly believed that there was a home for photography not only in the larger art world of galleries, museums, and collections, but in New Orleans as well. By building lasting relationships in the photography community (one emblematic story involves Harry Lunn’s VW Beetle breaking down while ferrying Pailet, Ansel Adams, and Yousuf Karsh) Pailet carved out a niche for himself and his upstart gallery. Bucking the trend of cold, pristine galleries devoid of human touch, Pailet sought to embrace the unique joie de vivre of New Orleans and create a gallery where anyone would feel at home. A Gallery for Fine Photography continues to operate as an extension of its founder, offering visitors from around the world a unique experience in viewing, collecting, and learning about fine art photography.