Chiefly known as as a New York photographer, Louis Draper was first a Richmonder, though until recently he was relatively unknown to his own home city. The local attention to Draper’s work comes at the active intervention of his sister, Nell Draper-Winston, assisted by Cheryl Pelt, Gordon Stettinius, Sarah Eckhardt, and others in the Richmond arts community. Subsequently, there is a local and national revival of interest in Draper’s work, marked, in part, by a New York Times article, a retrospective show and ongoing blog by Candela Books + Gallery, and the acquisition of thirteen of his photographs by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Blackbird's request to the VMFA to feature those thirteen photographs was the catalyst for a recent interview with Nell Draper-Winston by VMFA curator Sarah Eckhardt and Candela’s Gordon Stettinius. A shortened video version of that interview appears in this issue as filmed and produced by the VMFA. A long-form of the interview, transcribed by Blackbird and embedded with photographs, also appears in this issue.
Please join Blackbird in celebrating and broadening the legacy of photographer Louis Draper, as we look foward to exploring his work for many years to come.