Richard Berry: Capturing Images of Ragtime

Richard Berry is a fine musician and has performed at many ragtime events since the 1980s. In addition to his musical talent however, Rich has gifted the ragtime community with scrapbooks filled with thousands of professional quality festival photographs dating back to 2006. A visit to his studio website reveals salient photos from each event through the years and is enough to draw readers inside to enjoy his photographic chronicle of ragtime festivals from past years. Richard moves unobtrusively around a venue photographing nearly every aspect of an event, taking both formal images and candid shots of performers and members of the audience. His images have become a visual Who’s Who of ragtime. I communicated with Rich after this year’s Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia and inquired about his work. He was kind enough to graciously respond. Larry Melton: What is your musical background including your interest in ragtime? Richard Berry: I discovered Ragtime after seeing the movie The Sting. In early 1974, I bought the soundtrack album which featured six Scott Joplin compositions including “The Entertainer,” which was then a big hit on the radio. This led to the discovery and acquisition of Ragtime rec
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Larry Melton was a founder of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in 1974 and the Sedalia Ragtime Archive in 1976. He was a Sedalia Chamber of Commerce manager before moving on to Union, Missouri where he is currently helping to conserve the Ragtime collection of the Sedalia Heritage Foundation. Write him at [email protected].

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