J, New Orleans, LA, from The Reposed series, 1994, Ektacolor

J, New Orleans, LA, from The Reposed series, 1994, Ektacolor

William Greiner

The Reposed

The cemetery series, titled, The Reposed, is a group of color photographs made over the past several years which, in part, explore some of the unique characteristics, constructions, and objects of graves and burial places in Southern Louisiana. My photographs are not intended to be a historical documentation of these places, for that task would be too anthropological in nature and would deserve extensive research and cataloging. These images are factually informative, but they are interpretations of the objects in their environment. Symbols and objects are to be read and interpreted – telephone poles mimic crosses – cobalt blue skies beckon us toward ‘heaven’ – Styrofoam hearts break in the wind, not unlike the hearts of deceased’s loved ones. Death and rejuvenation are inevitable.

The ornaments, fixtures, drawings, flowers, pictures, trinkets, and written words I find are the wonderful ways homage is paid and/or the existence of a loved one or friend is remembered. To this extent these images represent disintegration, rejuvenation, and life cycles. Additionally, they are documents of some of the ways, in our Southern culture, loved ones are remembered and eulogized. Viewing these images, we are left to provide our own fiction as to the circumstances of these things and places.

William K. Greiner, born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, bought his first camera by mail order at the age of twelve and has since been hooked on the magic of the medium. Greiner states that the photographs of William Eggelston, Gordon Parks, and William Christenberry encouraged him to pursue a personal vision.

Greiner‘s photographs depict reality by exposing the artifice behind private rituals and household icons. He has completed six bodies of color photographic work – exhibited at venues which range from the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans to the Center for Photography in Bombay, India; including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran, and at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Greiner‘s work can be found in over forty museum collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His most recent work was published by W.W. Norton – A NEW LIFE: Stories and Photographs from the Suburban South. This fall the Louisiana State Press will publish a monograph of his photographs, The Reposed: Views of Southern Burial Rites.