Signs & Symbols

Draper had an eye for signage and often worked in harmony with the many graffiti and street murals found throughout the city. The subject mirroring the backdrop, as seen in the portrait of the girl, is an example of Draper’s use of The Decisive Moment. Made famous by Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment is the very specific window of opportunity a photographer has where they must recognize, compose and seize at that precise click. Though some images might be construed as coincidental, Draper continuously displays an acute awareness to every element of his surroundings.

“A graffiti sign on the wall in the background – arranged by Draper as a backdrop to this stage – functions as a visual anchor that immediately captures the eye of the viewer.”  –Dr. Iris Schmeisser, from the essay “Engaged Resistance: The Early Life and Work of Louis Draper” from a Mercer County Community College publication.

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