The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) recently received three awards in the Southeastern Museums Conference’s publication and technology competitions for the groundbreaking exhibition Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers.

The exhibition, which was on view at NOMA until January 2023, brought together over 250 photographs from the 19th century to the present illustrating the artistic virtuosity, social significance, and political impact of African American photographers working in commercial portrait studios.

Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers presented a broader and more inclusive history of photography that highlighted Black subjects on both sides of the camera,” said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “Congratulations are due to exhibition curator Brian Piper and our entire museum staff for the important legacy of this exhibition and these award-winning projects.”

In the publication competition, NOMA was awarded a silver award in the book and catalogue category for Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers.

The exhibition’s catalogue was published in May 2023 by NOMA and is distributed by Yale University Press. The volume includes an essay by Brian Piper, NOMA’s Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, Prints, and Drawings, as well as contributions from Russell Lord, John Edwin Mason, and Carla Williams.

“The Called to the Camera catalogue is the result of the extraordinary efforts by a team of individuals, and includes treasures not only from NOMA’s collection, but also from archives and museums around the country,” said Piper.

The book is available for purchase in the NOMA Museum Shop.

The 2023 SEMC Publication Design Competition received a record-breaking number of applications from a wide variety of museums across the Southeast. The competition encourages communication, effective design, creativity and pride in work, and recognition of institutional image and identity. Recipients of the awards were judged by an appointed jury of museum professionals across the region who specialize in graphic design.

In the technology competition, NOMA received a gold award in the virtual media category and a bronze award in the media production category for video content produced to extend the exhibition’s reach through social media and the museum website. 

The museum’s marketing and communications team collaborated with videographer Drew Stubbs to produce a series of short-form videos featuring NOMA staff across departments. The social media campaign highlighted both academic and personal perspectives on the objects on view, underscoring the ways Black studio photographers produced beautiful portraits for their clients, while also making a variety of other work in keeping with important movements like pictorialism, modernism, and abstraction. The videos are collected together in a YouTube playlist.

Award winners from both competitions will be celebrated at the 2023 Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony on November 15, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as in the Fall 2023 Edition of INSIDE SEMC, a digital publication of the Southeastern Museums Conference. This designation recognizes the New Orleans Museum of Arts’s contributions to professional standards in Southeastern museums.