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Photos: Local Artist Jonathan Ferrara Launches Hope Photo Project, Captures Iconic NOLA Figures

Hope. It’s a word that we take for granted pretty often, but it’s an emotion that humans feel and express every single day. Hope is especially needed during COVID-19, and the protests & riots popping up around the country due to the senseless act of police brutality. 

One artist in New Orleans has tried to put a face on “hope” by using hundreds of Iconic celebrities, notable figures, and everyday citizens to get the message across. 

Jonathan Ferrara, an artist and gallery owner known for social activism and community engagement, has launched Hope for NOLA, the first installment of the Hope Photo Project. As New Orleans became an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ferrara took his camera to the streets and captured locals holding a Hope Street sign. To date, Ferrara has captured over 180 individuals.

“Now more than ever, hope is in short supply. Hope for NOLA aims to inspire New Orleans in our time of need, using the power of art & the visual image to communicate the message of Hope. And through the larger Hope Photo Project – Hope for our families, Hope for our friends, Hope for our city, Hope for our nation, and Hope for the world,” – Jonathan Ferrara.

Ferrara has been photographing 10-15 different subjects every day, and his work has featured Mayor LaToya Cantrell; City Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno; infectious disease expert Dr. Mark Alain Dery; award-winning musicians Irma ThomasBen Jaffe (Preservation Hall Jazz Band), trumpeter James Andrews, bassist George Porter, and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins; award-winning Chefs Susan SpicerJohn Harris, and Frank Brigtsen; restauranteurs Edgar “Dooky” ChaseRalph Brennan and dozens of others.

The photo tributes illustrate a stunning moment in time in which hope must win over despair. Ferrara has used the photographs to show an organic collaboration between himself and the subject he is shooting. Each photograph reflects the spirit of the person and their connection to the city of New Orleans. Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the series below, and head to Hope For Nola’s Instagram page here to see the whole series. 


Ferrara and the Hope Photo Project team are looking ahead, envisioning the project spreading hope on a global scale. Using the Hope for NOLA as a template, the team plans to equip more communities and cities across the globe with assets so they can add their voice to the Hope Photo Project. Visit www.thehopephotoproject.com for more information.

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