Uniquely Baton Rouge: Fonville Winans exhibit opens at the Capitol Park Museum

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A new exhibit at the Capitol Park Museum is bringing Louisiana to life through the lens of the man who captured it all.

“It’s been 25 years in the making and now we’re actually able to show this collection as a big centerpiece” said Rodneyna Hart, Executive Director at the museum.

Theodore ‘Fonville’ Winans was a photographer in the early 1930’s. He’s believed to have loved adventures and once said since an adventure to Africa was too far away, his native Louisiana served that purpose.

“The exhibition starts with his travels through south Louisiana, kind of where he developed his love for photography, and moves through into his studio” said curator Joey David. “It kind of captures his whole career from start to finish” David said.

Through the exhibit, guests are invited into Winans’ colorful world in black and white, through south Louisiana and beyond.

“You’ll see landscapes, but you’ll also see a very large collection of portraits- of headshots” David said. “Fonville Winans was very well known and did a lot of headshots so we have a lot of those on display here; people from Huey Long, to Governor Earl Long, to well known people here in Baton Rouge” said David.

While Winans is widely known for his landscape photography and upper echelon portraits, he became best known for his wedding photography where he captured some of the most intimate moments of bride’s lives.

“He’s with the bride through every stage of the day, where it be from getting dressed, to walking down the aisle, to the afterparty… Fonville’s there- he’s almost one of the bridal party and it was that intimacy that really kind of drew me into his photographs” David said.

“We’re asking for the community’s help. Come into the museum take a look at these photographs and see if you’re mother was a Fonville bride, see if you were a Fonville bride and see if you can help us identify some of these beautfiul women” David added.

“There’s a lot of Louisiana, the history, its culture, the way that we’ve developed and the way that we interact and also the way that he was able to capture the humanity of his subjects” said Hart.

The exhibit opens Tuesday, July 14 and will remain open for one year.

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