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Dana
Funk
 Photojournalism
 Eugene
Richards
 October
6,
2008



2


Many
people
slow
down
near
traffic
accidents,
but
not
to
stop
to
help
or
see
if


anyone
is
injured.

Many
others
are
addicted
to
popular
shows
like
CSI
and
Fringe,
 not
necessarily
for
the
story
line
with
a
happy
ending.

The
gruesome
and
horrific
 details
in
life
sometimes
seem
to
be
our
biggest
and
juiciest
guilty
pleasures.

 Eugene
Richards
is
known
for
his
most
unpleasant
of
scenes
that
many
would
never
 choose
to
see,
but
once
they
do,
they
are
happy
they
did.
 


Born
in
1944
in
Dorchester,
Mass.,
Richards
earned
his
degree
in
English
and


Journalism
from
Northeastern
University.

Shortly
thereafter,
he
traveled
to
the
 Massachusetts
Institute
of
Technology
(MIT)
where
he
gained
his
Masters
under
the
 supervision
of
Minor
White
(Richards,
2008).

 


Richards
comes
face
to
face
with
the
worst
conditions
in
the
world,
hoping
to


raise
awareness
about
the
personal
plight
of
individuals
in
today’s
society.

During
 the
1960s,
he
was
a
civil
rights
activist
and
VISTA
volunteer.

In
that
time,
he
helped
 found
a
community
newspaper
entitled
Many
Voices,
which
reported
on
black
 political
action
and
the
violence
of
the
Ku
Klux
Klan
(Richards,
2008).
His
work
as
a
 health
advocate
in
eastern
Arkansas
sparked
his
first
major
photo‐essay,
Few
 Comforts
or
Surprises:
The
Arkansas
Delta
(Richards,
2000).
 


After
struggling
for
a
few
years,
Richards
returned
home
to
the


neighborhood
he
once
escaped
to
be
a
social
worker
and
activist.

Dorchester
is
 where
he
began
photographing‐anything
and
everything
that
was
right
in
front
of
 him.
He
was
broke
and
a
novice
player
on
the
photography
field
but
felt
the
need
to
 capture
the
dramatic
events
in
his
very
own
hometown.

In
his
photography,
“a
tear
 comes
as
big
as
a
fingernail.
Faces
fly
apart
with
grief
and
loss
and
separation
–
are



3


caught
at
the
corners
of
images
like
afterthoughts.
Mothers
at
one
edge,
children
at
 the
opposite,
with
whole
lifetimes
between”
(Richards,
2000).
 Many
may
think
that
photographing
the
pleasant
and
happy
is
most
appealing,
but
 Richard’s
collection
of
photography
shows
some
of
the
most
ghastly
and
heart
 wrenching
scenes
that
no
one
can
even
begin
to
imagine.
Despite
the
gore,
disgust
 and
extremely
fatal
emotion
that
one
may
feel
when
seeing
his
black
and
white
 photography,
there
is
insurmountable
truth
behind
each
and
every
piece.


 Each
photograph
creates
a
story
in
a
world
that
never
seemed
to
exist.

An
 entire
lifetime
shines
through
the
colorless
photos,
and
the
plight
of
each
person
in
 it
is
far
greater
than
someone’s
worst
nightmare
and
burden
with
no
release.

It
is
 reality.

The
racially
charged
area
where
Richards
was
originally
from
provides
 some
of
his
greatest
work.
“After
a
third
glass
of
wine
Gene
begins
to
talk.

About
 neighbors.
Closed
doors.

Closed
minds.

Home”
(Richards,
2000).

 Known
for
his
socially
aware
documentary
photographs,
Richards
pictures
 are
personal
and
real.

From
Kennedy
controversy
to
racial
riots,
Eugene
Richards
 was
never
afraid
to
tell
the
truth
through
his
camera.

His
photos
detail
America’s
 life
in
a
surreal
and
emotional
way.

They
are
not
always
happy
or
content,
but
 worrisome,
angry
and
provocative.

Americans
We
takes
you
on
a
detailed
journey
 of
Richards’
adventures.

An
elderly
woman
lies
on
her
death
bed
saying
her
last
 good‐bye;
a
Marine
returning
home
to
North
Carolina‐
scarred
and
tired;
and
a
drug
 house
in
East
New
York
depict
scenes
that
we
know
exist,
but
could
never
picture
 ourselves
up
close
and
personal
as
we
can
through
Richard’s
camera
lens.




4
 Among
several
awards
and
honors,
Richards
has
both
written
and
directed


films.

One
example,
But,
the
day
came
was
named
Best
Short
Film
at
the
Full
Frame
 Documentary
Film
Festival
(National
Geographic).

He
is
not
only
a
great
 photographer
and
filmmaker,
but
Richards
might
even
be
most
popular
for
his
 writing,
especially
for
his
authorship
of
Cocaine
True
Cocaine
Blue.

This
book
 focuses
on
the
impact
of
crack
cocaine
in
three
eastern
cities:
North
Philadelphia,
 Harlem,
and
Red
Hook,
New
Jersey.

It
received
the
Kraszna‐Krausz
Award
for
 Photographic
Innovation
in
Books
(Photographer:
Eugene
Richards).

Furthermore,
 Richards
wrote
Exploding
Into
Life,
a
book
about
his
first
wife’s
battle
with
breast
 cancer.
It
received
Nikon’s
book
of
the
year
award
(Richards
2008).
 


The
Museum
of
Contemporary
Photography
says
that,
“Richards
might
be


thought
of
as
a
soldier
with
a
camera,
coming
face
to
face
with
the
difficult
and
the
 deadly:
poverty
in
Arkansas,
racial
violence,
political
refugees,
the
drug
culture
of
 North
Philadelphia,
the
criminally
insane,
the
experiences
of
cancer
patients.”
 Currently
residing
in
New
York,
Richards
continues
to
embrace
the
 emotional
road
of
individual’s
personal
lives.
He
has
paved
the
way
for
many
 upcoming
photographers
and
is
recognized
by
many
awards
and
kudos.

He
has
won
 the
W.
Eugene
Smith
Memorial
Award,
a
Guggenheim
Fellowship,
three
National
 Endowment
for
the
Arts
grants,
the
Leica
Medal
of
Excellence,
three
Canon
Photo
 Essayist
Awards,
and
the
Robert
F.
Kennedy
Lifetime
Achievement
Journalism
 Award
for
coverage
of
the
disadvantaged,
among
many
others
(Richards,
2008).



5
 Bibliography
 



 "Photographer:
Eugene
Richards."
National
Geographic.
2008.
29
Sept.
2008

 <http://http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photogra
 phers/photographer‐eugene‐richards.html>.
 
 
 Richards,
Eugene.
Americans
We.
1st
ed.
Danbury:
Aperture
Foundation,
 Incorporated,
1994.
1‐123.
 
 
 Richards,
Eugene.
Dorchester
Days.
New
York:
Phaidon
P,
2000.
1‐108.
 
 
 Richards,
Sam,
ed.
"Eugene
Richards."
Bio
&
Contact.
2008.
1
Oct.
2008

 <http://www.eugenerichards.com>.
 
 
 



Eugene Richards