SlowExposures's blog brings news that Debbie Fleming Caffery, of Breaux Bridge, LA, will receive the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities “Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography Award” on April 2. This award is made each year to honor Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities.
This award is in special recognition of Caffrey's work documenting of rural communities with strong agriculture and religious ties. This work brought her to the sugarcane fields of Louisiana where she has photographed and documented the last generation of workers to harvest sugarcane by hand. She has also made work documenting Louisiana's distinctive Cajun culture centered in Lafayette, LA and the small towns around it like Breau Bridge, New Iberia, and St Maryville. She has also been involved in making work documenting the distinctive culture of New Orleans and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill of last year.
This award also recognizes Caffrey's long and distinguished career as a photographer. Over the course of 30 years, Caffery has had more than 20 one-woman exhibitions at museums and galleries, including the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and Galerie Camera Obscura in Paris.
Caffery received a Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society in 2006 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. She was the first recipient of the Lou Stomen prize for documentary photography given by the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, California. Caffery's work is in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
Caffrey also knows that one of the great places to be on a Saturday morning is the Cafe des Amis in Breau Bridge, for the Zydeco Breakfast. Congratulations to Caffrey for this well-deserved honor!