On July 13, 1958, newlyweds Richard and Mildred Loving were taken from their bed and arrested, accused of the crime of “miscegenation” under Virginia law. Mildred was of African American and Native American ancestry, Richard was white. Wanting only to live together as husband and wife, the couple eventually brought their case to the US Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the highest court ruled unanimously in their favor, a milestone in civil rights history.
In the spring of 1965, as their case worked its way through the courts, Grey Villet, a celebrated photojournalist for Life magazine, was sent to document the Lovings’ story. The Lovings: An Intimate Portrait presents the resulting photo-essay in its entirety for the first time. With a narrative by former Life editor Barbara Villet, Grey’s colleague and wife, and a foreword from Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist Stephen Crowley of the New York Times, the photographs document the Lovings’ love and commitment to family and community with an intensity and intimacy that is the signature of Grey Villet's award-winning work.
PRAISE FOR GREY VILLET AND THE LOVINGS
"In this digital world, it’s also easy to forget the kind of intensity of focus and experience it took to produce photographs like the ones Grey and his peers made, composing essays in the field without the benefit of the instant feedback available today. But Grey took the matter a step further in a search for veracity. 'I hate to set up stuff...I’d much rather let people act as they are, and reflect that. If I’ve got the patience, that’ll give me a better picture than anything I can dream up.'"
—Stephen Crowley, photographer, New York Times, Washington Bureau, 2017
"To know Richard and Mildred Loving is to know the photos of Grey Villet. Grey’s photos cut to the core of who I believe Richard and Mildred were, and more importantly they show in detail how the couple felt about one another. That is a rare quality to find in still images, and it is something Grey imbued in every image he took of the Lovings."
—Jeff Nichols, writer/director of Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special, and Loving
"[Grey Villet] created a complex portrait of two shy, non-political people, and their family that show us Richard and Mildred's lives and love in a way that their landmark Civil rights case could not."
—Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, International Center of Photography, New York
"With quiet, exacting beauty, this book documents how our most intimate feelings can galvanize vast social change. Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving fought for the right to marry and raise a family amid national struggles for voting rights and educational equality. Their victory was—and is—every bit as monumental and precious."
—Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of Negroland: A Memoir