LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

About Eugene Richards


Eugene Richards, The Blue Room and A Procession of Them

A presentation of images from the two most recent books by Eugene.

Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Eugene Richards earned a degree in English and journalism before studying photography with Minor White. In 1968, after protesting the war in Vietnam, he joined VISTA and was assigned to eastern Arkansas, where he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper that reported on black political action and the Ku Klux Klan. Richards’s first publication was Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta (1973), followed by Dorchester Days (1978), a portrait of the inner-city neighborhood where he was raised.

Eugene Richards’s subsequent books include Exploding Into Life (1986), which chronicles his first wife’s struggle with breast cancer; Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue (1994), a study of the impact of hardcore drugs on American cities, and The Fat Baby (2004), a collection of fifteen textual and photographic essays. The Blue Room, his study of abandoned houses, and A Procession of Them, which confronts the plight of the institutionalized mentally disabled, were published in Fall 2008. His current book project, War Is Personal, is a documentation in words and pictures of the consequences of the Iraq war.

Among numerous honors, Richards has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Journalism Award for coverage of the disadvantaged. His film, But, the day came, which chronicles the passage of an elderly Nebraska farmer to a nursing home, received the Best Short Film award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.