Eugene Richards is an American documentary photographer. Within Richards photographs his main aim is to raise social awareness and they have been characterized as highly personal. In his first book that he published ‘Few comforts or surprises (1973), he photographed the poverty in Arkans. In His seconds book however ‘Dorchester Days (1978), the book comes across more angry and bitter, both political and personal. Eugene has also been a member of Magnum photos.
As Eugene lived in Arkansas in 1968, he became increasingly involved in the black community. He began to use his camera to record what he observed, not only the poverty and suffering of these people but also their laughter, contemplation, and triumphs. His subjects range from children at play to an African style wedding to scenes of work and home life. Death, religion, and imprisonment are major elements of Delta existence, and of these photos. The 110 photographs collected within his book ‘Few comforts or surprises’ that I looked at and studied, express the quality of life in a part of the South.
When Eugene was in Arkans, 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 these years were published in his first monograph and book ‘Few comforts or surprises’ which I studied, learning from his work and taking ideas from it to put towards my theme. When Richard returned to Dorchester, he started to document the changing, racially diverse neighbourhood where he was born. His second monograph ‘Dorchester days’ was published in 1978, the same year he joined Magnum photos where he remained for 17 years.
Some of Eugene’s work has appeared in major magazines worldwide including Life, New york Times, Mother Jones, National Geographic and The Nation. Some of the books that he has published include ‘Cocaine true Cocaine blue’ which is an extensive reportorial on the effects of hardcore drug use. Looking at some of the books that Eugene has published that I myself studied here and there, I see how he clearly photographs people in unstable surroundings, showing their actions, which give us an understanding as to why they are showing a certain emotion. Eugene’s aim is to capture moments where the viewer connects with the person in the image, understanding their life and behaviour; this is something I have included within my shoots.
Book: Eugene Richards.MIT Press,New edition (22 Aug 1974).Few comforts or surprises: The Arkansas Delta.
Website: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photographers/photographer-eugene-richards/ viewed 27/11/14
Website: http://www.photoeye.com/Auctions/Auction.cfm?id=6278 viewed 27/11/14