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.