The Loving Festival opened Thursday at Stella Jones Gallery with a reception for a show of LIFE magazine photographer Grey Villet's portraits of Mildred and Richard Loving. The Virginia couple wed in Washington D.C. because their home state prohibited interracial marriages. But they lived in Virginia with their three children and eventually were arrested and sentenced to jail. The ACLU appealed their case, and finally in 1967, the Supreme Court struck down race-based marriage bans in Loving v. Virginia. LIFE sent Villet to photograph the couple while the case was pending. He spent two weeks with them and took 2,100 shots, says his wife Barbara Villet, who was a reporter for LIFE.
The show includes 21 photos, four of which are being displayed publicly for the first time. Most of the photos were taken at the couple's Virginia home and they capture the two alone, playing with their three children, attending to daily chores and enjoying themselves at back road drag races with neighbors. There's also a copy of the March 1966 LIFE with the photo essay. On its cover Barbara Streisand, whose career was taking off. Grey was offered the assignment to photograph Streisand and turned it down, Barbara Villet says. Villet took a special interest in the civil rights movement and photographed many of the movement's leaders and participants. The show at Stella Jones Gallery (Place St. Charles, 201 St. Charles Ave.) runs through June 30.
The festival continues with a series of film screenings and other events. Screeners for Eliaichi Kimaro's A Lot Like You and Idrissou Mora-Kpai's Indochina, Traces of a Mother after the jump. Both filmmakers will attend film screenings. More on the films and festival in Gambit here.