Words and Photos by Veronica Thomas and Rex Weiner

Last week we had a great time at Photo NOLA, here’s a recap of the event.

Wednesday Night:
Arrive NOLA at dusk swooping low over the swamps, egrets flying below. Shuttle to International House Hotel downtown. Dinner at Luke with Swannie (Mary Virginia Swanson) co-author of To Be Published or To Self-Publish? the essential guide for anyone wanting to a photo book. Chilly here! Then a good night’s rest for our inaugural A&I workshop with PhotoNOLA —our first time here!

Thursday Day:
After some much needed coffee and beignets at Café Du Monde in the French Market, we are all set-up and ready to rock the house, photo book style…these PhotoNOLA folks better be ready for Rex’s “Mick Jagger style” presentation, That Photo Book You Always Wanted to Do…Done!

Rex Weiner is Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of A&I Books (www.aandibooks.com) and Great Circle Books (www.greatcirclebooks.net ). In addition to pioneering print-on-demand publishing for books of fine art photography, he is also journalist whose feature articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Observer and Rolling Stone Italia.

The sold-out workshop is a hit—everyone has a great project, and comes away with a book fully executed on our free online BookCreator software. Looking forward to seeing these books come off our presses next week!
The New Orleans Wax Museum hosted tonight’s PhotoNOLA gala. Music, dancing, food and an auction of stellar photography drew a crowd of 300. The evening was capped by a tour of the Wax Museum’s peculiar exhibits devoted to the city’s bizarre history, including various carnival memorabilia.

Friday Day:
Had some downtime in the afternoon after setting-up our books in the lobby during PhotoNOLA Education Day and Portfolio Review Orientation. Education Day lecture panels included, Mary Virginia Swanson; David Houston, curator of the brand new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Alexandra LeFaou, of exhibition experts Foto+Synthesis; Russel Lord, new photo curator of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Martin McNamara, owner of Gallery 339.

Friday Night:
WOW! What a night of exciting PhotoNOLA events! First walked over to A Gallery for Fine Photography on Chartres Street where we saw the most amazing photographs by legends such as Herman Leonard, Diane Arbus, Helmut Newton, Sebastiao Salgado and so many, many more.

An excellent exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art of 1950s photos of Canal Street, located within the Canal Street Sheraton Hotel, served as a yet another reminder of the city’s photographic legacy, stretching back to E.J. Bellocq’s legendary Storyville portraits (subject of Brooke Shield’s first movie, Pretty Baby)

Prints hanging “salon style,” rarely seen in Los Angeles. Then off to the PhotoNOLA Group Book Signing with Shannon Brinkman – “Preservation Hall”, Ashley Gilbertson – “Whisky Tango Foxtrot”, Loli Kantor – “There Was a Forest”, Deborah Luster – “Tooth For An Eye,” James A. Reeves – “The Road to Somewhere,” and PhotoNOLA organizer Jennifer Shaw’s “Hurricane Story.” Lecture by Josephine Sacabo, one of New Orleans’ premiere artists, topped off the event. Great kick-off for PhotoNOLA….
Saturday Day:
Portfolio Reviews throughout the day with our A&I Books exhibit all setup in the meeting room where anxious photographers huddle with reviewers—intense! Later we get to see the actual works as all artists portfolios will be open to the public during a city-wide art-walk. Looking forward to that tonight (and some hot music over on Frenchmen Street), and wish we had more time here! Tomorrow’s the last day!


Veronica Thomas is the Marketing Director at A&I Studios (www.aandi.com )in Hollywood, CA. While at A&I, she is able to collaborate with clients ranging from individual artists to companies on their photo books from strategy, concept, and execution. Previously, she was Director at Kopeikin Gallery where she oversaw exhibitions for Chris Jordan, Deanna Templeton, Hiroshi Watanabe, Susan Anderson among others. She is also Print Production Manager for Edition One Hundred www.editiononehundred.com, which offers curated, limited edition, hand-signed and numbered prints available in editions of 100, priced at $100.00 each.



Great food in New Orleans, of course, but even a simple joint like Majoria’s Commerce (“Good Food Since 1965”) around the corner on Gravier and Camp has excellent fried chicken, gumbo and humongous po’boys, served by Rex’s new girlfriend!



PhotoNOLA is headquartered at the International House, a boutique hotel not far from the French Quarter. Portfolio reviews and seminars take place in meeting rooms conveniently located across the street. The event is extraordinarily well-organized and run by the all-volunteer New Orleans Photo Alliance, formed in the wake of Katrina as part of the city’s heroic revival.



The city’s time-honored tradition of jazz funerals continues to this day, including one we attended for a friend’s young niece, Alma Bear, an artist who died tragically young. The artists of her district honored her life with a “second line” street parade snaking through the city and ending with an emotional ceremony at the river.