Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), The Bat, 1940, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift of Lucinda W. Bunnen for the Bunnen Collection, 1981.93.
Caption
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), The Bat, 1940, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift of Lucinda W. Bunnen for the Bunnen Collection, 1981.93.

"There is no exquisite beauty...without some strangeness in the proportion."

That's a line from Edgar Allan Poe, the king of the dark and eerie, the strange and surreal. It could also describe the appeal of an exhibition currently on view at the High Museum of Art, called "Strange Light: The Photography of Clarence John Laughlin."

Laughlin has been called "Edgar Allan Poe with a camera." He was a Louisiana native and Southern photographer known as the "Father of American Surrealism." A fascinating and irascible character, Laughlin broke boundaries with photographic innovations that linked imagery to the subconscious. 

On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott speaks with Gregory Harris and John Lawrence.

John Lawrence is director of museum programs for The Historic New Orleans Collection, which holds Laughlin's archives and master prints. He joined On Second Thought to talk about the life, work and vision of the "phantasmagorical" photographer.

Gregory Harris, associate curator of photography for the High Museum of Art, also joined the conversation.

The exhibit will be on view at the High Museum through Nov. 10. 

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Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), Water Witch, 1939, printed 1940, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase, 1978.63.
Caption
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), Water Witch, 1939, printed 1940, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase, 1978.63.
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), Moss Fingers, 1946, printed 1947, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, bequest of the artist, 1985.99.
Caption
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), Moss Fingers, 1946, printed 1947, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, bequest of the artist, 1985.99.
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), A Figment of Desire: Woman as a Sex Object, 1941, printed 1981, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with funds from Robert Yellowlees, 2015.42.
Caption
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), A Figment of Desire: Woman as a Sex Object, 1941, printed 1981, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with funds from Robert Yellowlees, 2015.42.
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), The Improbable Dome (No. 1), 1965, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift of Joshua Mann Pailet in honor of his mother, Charlotte Mann Pailet, her family, and Sir Nicholas Winton, 2017.427.
Caption
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), The Improbable Dome (No. 1), 1965, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift of Joshua Mann Pailet in honor of his mother, Charlotte Mann Pailet, her family, and Sir Nicholas Winton, 2017.427.
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), The Enigma, 1941, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase, 75.76.
Caption
Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905-1985), The Enigma, 1941, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase, 75.76.