"An ordinary thing, cleaned of its context, can have strength of form, exquisiteness of texture, and hanging in space, become magical."
~ Lyle Bongé
Lyle Bongé was born in 1929 in Biloxi. He was the son of two local artists, Arch and Dusti Bongé. While doing graduate work in anthropology at the University of Mexico, he bought a camera to record the trip. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea and ran a darkroom there for two years. When he came home to Biloxi, he began renovating houses for a living and began his photography career too.
Lyle is most well known for a series of photographs taken at New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations from 1955 to 1981. The photos were collected in Sleep of Reason. “Shooting film in the French Quarter, 1964 was best for me,” Bongé said in his book. “Photographers were few and ignorant of what they saw. The streets were thick with people and the participants outnumbered the gawkers.”
In addition to photography, he is a metal sculptor, metal worker, and boat builder.