Eugene Richards on The Run-On of Time
|Date||Sep 28, 2018|
The essential photographer sheds light on the themes, stories, and images that have shaped his forty-five year career and his retrospective on view at the ICP Museum, Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time. Richards will be joined in conversation by Nelson-Atkins Museum curator April Watson and ICP’s Susan Carlson.
Eugene Richards, photographer, writer, and filmmaker, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1944. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English, he studied photography with Minor White. In 1968, he joined VISTA, Volunteers in Service to America, a government program established as an arm of the so-called” War on Poverty.” Following a year and a half in eastern Arkansas, Richards helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, which reported on black political action as well as the Ku Klux Klan. Photographs he made during these four 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. After being invited to join Magnum Photos in 1978, he worked increasingly as a freelance magazine photographer, undertaking assignments on such diverse topics as the American family, drug addiction, emergency medicine, pediatric AIDS, aging and death in America. In 1992, he directed and shot Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, the first of seven short films he would eventually make.
Richards has published seventeen books. Exploding Into Life, which chronicles his first wife Dorothea Lynch’s struggle with breast cancer, received Nikon's Book of the Year award. For Below The Line: Living Poor in America, his documentation of urban and rural poverty, Richards received an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. The Knife & Gun Club: Scenes from an Emergency Room received an Award of Excellence from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, an extensive reportorial on the effects of hardcore drug usage, received the Kraszna-Krausz Award for Photographic Innovation in Books. That same year, Americans We was the recipient of the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award for Best Photographic Book. In 2005, Pictures of the Year International chose The Fat Baby, an anthology of fifteen photographic essays, Best Book of the year. Richards’s most recent books include The Blue Room, a study of abandoned houses in rural America; War Is Personal, an assessment in words and pictures of the human consequences of the Iraq war; and Red Ball of a Sun Slipping Down, a remembrance of life on the Arkansas Delta.
April M. Watson is curator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO. She joined the museum in 2007, and since then has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions from the permanent Hallmark Photography collection, including Heartland: The Photographs of Terry Evans, a career retrospective of the artist; Through the Lens: Visions of African-American Experience, 1950–1970; American Soldier; About Face: Contemporary Portraiture; Time in the West: Photographs by Mark Klett & Byron Wolfe and Mark Ruwedel; and Human/Nature: Recent European Landscape Photography. In fall 2013, Watson served as the photography curator for Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet, an exhibition co-organized with the Saint Louis Art Museum. She is also co-curator of the retrospective Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time (2017), a show co-organized with Lisa Hostetler of the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY. Forthcoming projects include an exhibition of Gordon Parks’s photographs of Muhammad Ali, in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation. Watson has contributed writing and scholarship to numerous exhibitions and catalogues, including Stories from the Camera (2016) and The Art of Frederick Sommer: Photography, Drawing, Collage (2005). Watson holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Kansas, Lawrence; a MA in Art and Art History from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and a BFA from Alfred University, NY.
Susan Carlson is an assistant curator at the International Center of Photography, where she has organized and co-organized exhibitions, including Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change (2017) and Winning The White House: From Press Prints to Selfies (2016). She holds a BA in art history with a minor in cinema and media studies from Carleton College and an MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies from Columbia University.