Ah, the news — blood, gore, libel and larceny — who could live without it? On a global scale such things are called "history," but locally they strike a more personal chord, as we see in Harold Baquet's photographs. For more than 30 years, Baquet has recorded it all, but he excels at a kind of portraiture of juxtaposition, so we see former Mayor Ernest "Dutch" Morial feeding cake to Fats Domino on his birthday, a somber Miles Davis handing a trumpet to a young Wynton Marsalis, and Earl Turbinton with a literally smoking soprano sax. There also are contextual portraits of Allen Toussaint at his piano and Big Chief "Tootie" Montana in full Mardi Gras Indian regalia, but of special interest are the barbershops, the nerve centers of neighborhood life where philosophical exchanges occur in a contemplative setting. Such small, telling moments share space with epochal events like Morial's funeral, a portrait of collective grief etched into the expressions of a Creole family. All of this is familiar with the sweetness and poignancy of a family album, but this is an album of America's Creole city, and Baquet was there to record it for posterity.
Much of the news today is more a matter of spin and posturing as mercenary cartels and noisy infotainment nonentities try to persuade a weary public to appreciate them. In this context, Lafayette photographer Colin Miller finds many targets of opportunity in his rogues' gallery of mass mediated dysfunctions, in images of himself as a snarky talking head looking glib as the Twin Towers collapse behind him, and the like. In Hearing (pictured) he locks eyes with a pelican on the witness stand as dour politicos dredge through the painful oversights that allowed global corporations to despoil our waters while holding us hostage to their money, in a wry new take on a sad old story. — D. Eric Bookhardt
Thru March 24
In the Blink of an Eye: A Photography Retrospective by Harold Baquet
Loyola University, Collins Diboll Gallery, 6363 St. Charles Ave.; www.loyno.edu/dibollgallery
Thru March 31
Newsworthy: Recent Photographs by Colin Miller
The Darkroom, 1927 Sophie Wright Place, 522-3211; www.neworleansdarkroom.com