This book probably does more than any other to get inside the strange mind of Clarence John Laughlin. This is Southern Gothic at it's height. Best known as a documentor of crumbling plantation homes, Laughlin himself believed he was documenting something else indeed; he felt the camera can record the psychic impressions and nuances of the spirit world, which permeated the sites he photographed. It's weird stuff, and always overlooked in photo history texts. If you've ever seen the movie "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" with Bette Davis, you'll realize that it was heavily influenced by Laughlin's still images. The fan of gothic culture will find much to brood upon in Laughlin's work. The fact that the bulk of it was done in the years 1935-1950 amaze people when I show them this book. So, photographers, southern historians, paranormal afficianadoes, and Goths should all check out this and any of Laughlin's unique photographic works.
Laughlin's photography goes inside the beauty and decay of New Orleans and surrounds, yielding a surrealistic view that mirrors much literature, but few photographs, of the area. Laughlin often uses models whose faces are distant yet haunting, and has a marvelous eye for architecture. Much more than photographs of a place, these are photographs that become part of the place. Comments by Laughlin and others that accompany the photographs are definitely an enhancement.