Syndey Byrd Photography
Syndey Byrd by Herman Leonard(504) 821-9883
New Orleans, LA 70119

See more of her work: MySpace site

WINNER: Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Documentarian Award for 2010

Syndey Byrd (July 3, 1944) – is an artist, ethnographer and journalist who, over the past thirty years, has devoted much of her life to documenting the culture and celebrations of Southern Louisiana in color photographs. Her work is distinguished by its scope of subject, graceful intimacy and seductive color. Nowhere are these characteristics more powerfully represented than in Byrd's images of the New Orleans region's remarkable Carnival season.

Ernie K-Doe's Wedding (c) by Syndey Byrd
Byrd's interest in the elaborate customs and indigenous music of the deep Southern U.S. and neighboring Caribbean region has produced authoritative catalogues of Haitian art, architecture and ceremony; jazz funerals and other unique New Orleans traditions; the world renowned Jazz and Heritage Festival held annually in New Orleans and the boldest mannerisms of societies around the globe. Her tireless efforts, coupled with her winning images and personality, have given her lens access to both the very popular and private, the commonplace and flamboyant. As commercial clients and private collectors have long acknowledged, Syndey Byrd is a source when only a once-in-a-lifetime photo will do.

Cajun Chicken Man (c)2010 by Syndey byrd See Syndey’s Photo Gallery at the Tobasco Site

Syndey Byrd

Nestled amidst the funk and decadence in the cradle city of jazz and r & b is the studio of famed photographer and ethnic documentarian, Syndey Byrd. A former Miss VFW of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and long-time protege of the great photographic colorist Ernst Haas, Ms. Byrd has devoted herself to documenting unique folk cultures the world over. She is also considered the preeminent chronicler of celebration of carnival in New Orleans. In 1991, she was one of eight photographers in the world featured in the Eastman-Kodak PBS special, TEN THOUSAND EYES.

Ms. Byrd's images have also been featured in numerous books and in a one-woman show at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her legendary photographs of the masters of jazz, R&B, and blues make up a large part of her collection of over 50,000 images spanning the past thirty years.

Fats Domino Christmas Album Cover  (c) by Syndey Byrd

She is currently working on several guide books to New Orleans and Louisiana.

Ms. Byrd has an extensive file of stock images. For more information on her work, or to purchase images, you can contact Syndey Byrd directly by telephone at (504) 821-3528.

Syndey Byrd is represented by:

Julie van Schooten



Panel Discussion on the Work of Michael P. Smith

Moderator: John H. Lawrence, Director of Museum Programs, THNOC

Saturday, June 20, 2009 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Counting House 533 Royal Street
Free and open to the public.
Seaing is limited; call (504) 523-4662 or e-mail for reservations.

On June 20, John H. Lawrence, director of museum programs at The Collection, will moderate a panel discussion on Michael P. Smith’s vision and approach to photography. Combined among the participants in this panel, there is well over a century of interaction with Smith, and his approach to documentary photography. The discussion will be filtered through these individual experiences, creating a broad characterization of Smith’s work and its environment. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition In the Spirit: The Photography of Michael P. Smith from The Historic New Orleans Collection, the panel includes local independent photographers Matt Anderson, Syndey Byrd and Owen Murphy, as well as Roy Flukinger, senior research curator of photography at the Harry Ransom Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. The event, which begins at 2:00 p.m., is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; for reservations call (504) 523-4662 or e-mail The exhibition, which is also free, will be on view from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Syndey was recently designated "Queen for Life" by the newly formed Backsteppers Social and Pleasure Club of New Orleans.

The group premiered at the Jazz and Heritage Festival with a second line led by New Wave Brass Band as they honored the lives of musician Snooks Eaglin and the late New Orleans photographer Michael P. Smith.

Big Chief Norman Bell (c) by Syndey Byrd


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