Friday, July 19, 2013

Eugene Richards

The other day I was trolling around this site when I discovered these beautiful photographs by Eugene Richards. Richards' series -- The Blue Room --  features images of abandoned houses in rural America.  Peaceful, quiet, lonely, and forlorn, these photographs are a reminder that unexpected beauty can be found anywhere, even in the midst of neglect and decay.   

Eugene Richards, Howe, Nebraska, May 2004

Eugene Richards, South of Laramie, Wyoming, May, 2005

Eugene Richards, Near Amidon, North Dakota, July, 2007

Eugene Richards, Near Regent, North Dakota, September, 2006

Eugene Richards, Corinth, North Dakota, January, 2006

Eugene Richards, Acho, New Mexico, October, 2007

Eugene Richards, Walum, North Dakota, Novemer, 2006

Eugene Richards, Taliban, New Mexico, February, 2007

Eugene Richards, North of Cotton Plant, Arkansas, September, 2005

Eugene Richards, White Butte, South Dakota, October, 2006

Eugene Richards, Near Plentywood, Montana, July, 2007

Eugene Richards, Brickeys, Arkansas, September, 2005

Eugene Richards, Near Amidon, North Dakota, July 2007

Eugene Richards, Near Regent, North Dakota, September, 2006

Eugene Richards, Howe, Nebraska, June, 2005

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards, photographer, writer, filmmaker, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English, he studied photography with Minor White, then joined VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, which assigned him as a health advocate to eastern Arkansas.  He helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, which reported on black political action and the Ku Klux Klan.  Photographs he made during those years were published in his first monograph, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta.

Upon returning to Dorchester, Richards began to document the changing, racially diverse neighborhood where he was born.  His second monograph, Dorchester Days, was published in 1978, the same year he was invited to join Magnum Photos, where he remained for seventeen years.  

Richards' photography and writing has appeared in major magazines worldwide -- including LIFE, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The New Yorker, Mother Jones, National Geographic, and The Nation -- but he is best known for his books.  He has published fifteen of them.  Exploding into Life, which chronicles his first wife Dorothea Lynch's struggle with breast cancer.  Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, is an extensive reportorial on the effects of hardcore druge usage.  

Subsequent books include The Fat Baby, an anthology of fifteen photographic essays; A Procession of Them (William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture), a documentation of the plight of the world's mentally disabled; and The Blue Room, Richards' study of abandoned houses in rural America.  War is Personal, an assessment in words and pictures of the human consequences of the Iraq war.   

Among numerous honors, Richards has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts grants, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.  Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue and Dorchester Dayswere chosen for the inclusion in the exhibition and catalog, The Open Book, which cites the finest photographic books from 1878 to the present.  But, the Day Came a film written and directed by Richards, was named Best Short Film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Eugene Richards' photographs have been exhibited in more than forty solo shows in the United States and abroad, including the International Center of Photography in New York,  VISA pour l'lmage in Perpignan, and Les Rencontres d'Arles Photographie.


Stephanie said...

Really beautiful pictures. I can see going to a show of his, crying, having my mind blown out then reassembling with his latent images forever in there. Dudes got major creds too, lol

Dancing Branflake said...

So absolutely beautiful. Haunting. I could stare at these images forever.

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsey said...

Reminds me of when I was kid. I loved going to cemeteries and poking around in old abandoned houses. Guess I was a bit of a morbid child now that I think about it. Anyhoo - great pics. I especially love the one with the stairs to nowhere.

SabinePsynopsis said...

Shame on me, I've never heard of him... Incredible pictures. The topics he tackles and his photography remind me of Diane Arbus.

Trissta said...

These, to me, invoke a lot of emotions. I grew up on a farm, but when my parents got divorced, we were forced to give up that home... The one place that I actually considered home... and I ended up bouncing around from place to place for the next 14 years. It's heartbreaking for me to see these images, because I'd give anything to be able to go back to that place. Places like that have gone to waste, while there is someone like me who'd do anything to make them a happy home once again. Okay, sad, sappy comment over.

Much Love,