Virginia Draper

I am drawn to do something new with traditional kinds of photography–landscapes, seascapes & still lifes. And I enjoy exploring both realistic and abstract images.

For the Natural Bridges State Beach diptychs (8 in the series) I combine two kinds of photography: a landscape of the park and a still life of an object I found on the beach. I like hearing about the connections viewers make between the two images. 

One summer I experimented with a plastic Holga camera whose cheap lens and construction produce unpredictable distortions like light leaks, blurs, and vignetting. It seemed to me that this quirky instrument aptly captured the surrealistic mood of that season in Santa Cruz County.

Like many who live in Santa Cruz, I am one who delights in water and my “Waterscapes” series shares my delight. Some were taken along the coast–Pescadero, Santa Cruz, Point Lobos, and Big Sur; others in Yosemite Valley.

Recently, I’ve developed a series called “Trashcapes,” that began when I poked my camera into a recycle bin in downtown Santa Cruz and got a startling image. Since then I’ve continued to peer inside trash bins and have photographed in nearby “dumps” at Dimeo Lane and Buena Vista Drive. 

When I travel, I am often drawn to the artfulness of people’s daily lives and have a series called “Get A (Artful) Life.” Henri Cartier-Bresson describes the challenge and reward of this kind of photography: In a fraction of a second the photographer must simultaneously recognize “the significance of an event” and capture “the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.”  When both of these happen, “the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif.” 

My photographs have been in juried exhibitions, including ones at the PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, Vermont; Center for Photographic Art, Carmel; Pacific Art League, Palo Alto; Yosemite Museum Gallery; Triton Museum, Santa Clara; Santa Cruz Art League; and PVAC. Several of my images have been in Porter Gulch Review (2010-13), the literary and arts magazine of Cabrillo College, and I received a “Best Photographer” award from the Review in June 2011. I won a third place prize from the jurors of Yosemite Renaissance XXVII and honorable mention at  2014 Statewide Photography Competition & Exhibition, Triton Museum of Art,. 

I have had solo shows in local venues including VinoCruz, Odonata’s Winery, Louden Nelson Community Center, Cooper St. Hair Salon, S.C. Public Library, and Public Health Administration offices, and have been in invitational group shows at R. Blitzer Gallery, PVAC Gallery, Davenport Gallery, La Galeria (Moss Landing). and Santa Cruz County Building.  I participated in Open Studios in 2012 and 2013.

Photography