A new book and exhibition entitled Andrew D. Lytle’s Baton Rouge: Photographs, 1863-1910 showcase the life and work of photographer Andrew D. Lytle. The exhibition in Hill Memorial Library is based on Mark Martin’s newly released book on Lytle, published by LSU Press.
On Sunday, April 6, two events will mark the opening of the exhibition, which runs through June 28. At 3 p.m., Martin will give an illustrated lecture, followed by a reception and book signing. At 2 p.m., preceding the talk, photographer Bruce Schultz will demonstrate the wet-plate collodion photographic technology that Lytle used during in his career. Both events are free and will take place at Hill Memorial Library.
With his roving camera, Lytle captured the city’s history in all its facets, from formal portraits of leading citizens to hilarious group shots of amateur theatricals. The Federal occupation of Baton Rouge during the Civil War is chronicled, as well the annual spring Fireman’s parade. Lytle photographed the cadets at LSU, as well as inmates of the state penitentiary. The exhibition offers views of the evolving landscape of Louisiana’s capital city through more than sixty years. Lytle’s photographs are, according to Martin, “the only visual record of that period of the life and times of Baton Rouge and its people.” Martin is the Photographic Processing Archivist in the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections division.
Bruce Schultz got involved with photography while a student at LSU, and went on to work as a photographer, reporter, and bureau chief for various newspapers in Louisiana, before joining the LSU AgCenter’s Communications Department. In April 2007, he took a workshop under expert wet-plate photographer Robert Szabo. After the workshop, Schultz says, “I was hooked. I haven’t shot any film since that fateful weekend in April 2007.” He often photographs Civil War reenactments and gives demonstrations of the wet-plate process for schools, libraries, and other similar institutions.
The demonstration, lecture, and exhibition are all free and open to the public. Hill Memorial Library, which houses the exhibition and extensive historical archives, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. When classes are in session, the library is open Tuesday evenings until 8 p.m. For more information about the library, visit the Special Collections’ Web site.