PRINT October/November 2020



Herman Howard, Untitled, 1965, gelatin silver print, 11 × 14". © Herman Howard/The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY.

AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY lies at the heart of Louis Draper’s artistic life. In the autumn of 1956, when he was the cameraman for his college newspaper in Petersburg, Virginia, someone left a copy of Edward Steichen’s Family of Man, published the previous year, on his bed. “I lived in the dorm with four other people, none of whom owned up to it,” Draper recalled in an interview less than a year before his death in 2002. “I have no idea to this day who left that copy on my bed.” Steichen’s book, a catalogue for the famed exhibition of the same title at New York’s Museum of Modern Art—packed with more than five hundred images by nearly three hundred photographers from sixty-eight countries and self-styled as the “greatest photographic exhibition of all time”—was designed to have a monumental reach, addressing viewers in the “universal language” of photography. On display, Steichen explained

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