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Louis Draper Biography

Louis Draper was born in Virginia in 1935 and moved to Harlem, New York in 1957 where he enrolled at the New York Institute of Photography, studying under W. Eugene Smith. He worked between Harlem and New Jersey, where Draper taught at Mercer County Community College from 1982 to the end of his life in 2002. In 1960 Draper founded The Kamoinge Workshop with Ray Francis. Kamoigne, translating to 'group effort' from the language of the Kikuyu people of Kenya, grew to include fellow artists Anthony Barboza, Adjer Cowans, Danny Dawson, Al Fennar, Herman Howard, Earl James, Jimmy Mannas, Herbert Randall, Herb Robinson, Beuford Smith, Ming Smith, Larry Stewart, Shawn Walker, and Calvin Wilson. Of his own photographs, Draper wrote: 'I want to show the strength, the wisdom, the dignity of the Negro people ... I do not want a documentary or sociological statement, I want a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negros which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret.'

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During his lifetime Draper had solo exhibitions at Image Gallery, New York and The Photo Workshop Center for Photography, New Jersey. Work from the Kamoinge Workshop has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, New York; George Eastman House, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The New York Public Library, and Harvard University among other institutions. Draper’s work is held in several public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; George Eastman House, New York; Afro-American Museum of Art and Culture, Chicago; and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, New York.

Text courtesy Bruce Silverstein.

Louis Draper Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperUntitled, c. 1970Three gelatin silver prints
16.5 x 23.2 cm
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Woman and Carousel, Coney Island by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperWoman and Carousel, Coney Island, 1976Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1976
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Untitled (Division for Youth, Bronx) by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperUntitled (Division for Youth, Bronx)Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed c. 1960s
16.5 x 11.1 cm
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Untitled by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperUntitledGelatin silver print, printed c. 1970s
20.3 x 25.4 cm
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Untitled by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperUntitled, c. 1980Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1980
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Untitled by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperUntitled, c. 1960sGelatin silver print flush-mounted to board, printed c. 1960s
14.6 x 22.9 cm
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery
Two Girls Kneeling on Street with Batman, New York by Louis Draper contemporary artwork
Louis DraperTwo Girls Kneeling on Street with Batman, New York, c. 1965Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1965
27.9 x 19.1 cm
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery

Louis Draper Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Louis Draper, LOUIS DRAPER | TRUE GRACE at Bruce Silverstein, New York
Closed
9 January–22 February 2020 Louis Draper LOUIS DRAPER | TRUE GRACE Bruce SilversteinNew York

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