NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —August is Museum Month in New Orleans. There’s a new exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art called; Picture Man: Portraits by Polo Silk.

Polo Silk is a beloved artist that has taken in the culture of New Orleans with his polaroid camera since the 1980’s. His mantra is to always be ready.

“A lot of young photographers say they look up to me. They are always asking about what type of advice I can give them and I say that I’ve always kept my camera with me. I’m always snapping,” says Selwhyn Sthaddeus “Polo Silk” Terrell.

“I just love the culture and the people in the New Orleans community. Now my work is part of one of the biggest museums in the city. I think it started, when I was younger, when I was sitting in my grandmother’s and Aunt’s living room. I would see photos of the black community. These were staple photographs of the family household,” says Terrell.

“Polo Silk” has a deep admiration for the black culture and often overlooked microcosms, that only New Orleans’ long-standing local residents are savvy to. He has been to many a house party, rap concert, and club and says, “one thing about this city, is that every day there is something to do. There’s a block party or a second line, or Indians. There’s kids’ birthday parties and weddings outside. Although most of my stuff is in the hood, it’s the richness, love and appreciation I get, along with the warmth, that makes it all worth it. Something about our city is just special.”

A beautiful aspect about the work of “Polo Silk” and other photographers is that they are arguably documenting the day to day life of New Orleans.

In 2020, the New Orleans bounce music pioneer, 5th Ward Weebie, passed away at the age of 42 from a heart attack. “Just a couple weeks ago, I was able to give the late, 5th Ward Weebie’s mother a picture of him and her together that she forgot I had taken for one of her birthdays,” reflects Terrell.

When asked about how it feels to have his work recognized at NOMA, “Polo Silk” says, “I want to say thank you to all the people of the city and everybody who ever gave me the opportunity to photograph them. If it wasn’t for them, this would not be happening. I am forever grateful.”

Picture Man: Portraits by Polo Silk will be on display until January 2023. It is a companion exhibition for an upcoming exhibit that showcases the long-storied history of African American photographers in the City of New Orleans called; Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers. The Called to the Camera exhibit will be up at NOMA September 15th.