Hell’s Bells / Sulfur / Honey



New Orleans: a romantic American city widely understood as a place full of mystery, faith and magic, but also a landscape loaded with history. This friction between the mystique and the everyday intrigued New Orleans based photographer Sophie T. Lvoff (1986), leading to her series Hell’s Bells / Sulfur / Honey.

The classic cars, hand painted signs, tropical vegetation and modest churches – Lvoff did not want to show us the tourist sites but rather something almost ethereal about the city landscape of New Orleans. Lvoff "followed her instinct", she says, while driving around in the city, letting herself be "drawn to places that inspire her in terms of colour and architecture".

This results in a series of places, without us knowing where it’s taken, that convey an atmosphere of light and colour specific to New Orleans. Using the poem Sundown Blues by the American poetic Charles Wright as a jumping off point, she sketched the difficulty of a place that aches to show itself, yet is only capable of showing its true beauty to those who reside within it.

There are some things that can’t be conveyed—
description, for instance,
The sundown light on that dog-hair lodgepole pine
and the dead branches of spruce trees.
They hold its brilliance against them
For a tick or two
before it chameleons away.
No one is able to describe this gold to bronze to charcoal, no one.
So move along, boy, just move along.
– Charles Wright, Sundown Blues