American, b. 1944. Eugene Richards was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in literature and journalism, he studied photography with Minor White at M.I.T. In 1968 he joined VISTA and was assigned as a health care advocate to eastern Arkansas. Two years later he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, that reported on black political action and the response of the Ku Klux Klan. After publication of his first two books, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta (1973) and his self-published Dorchester Days (1978), Richards was invited to become a nominee at Magnum.
He was a member until he departed in 1995, but returned to the cooperative in 2002. Richards is best known for his books and photo essays on such diverse topics as breast cancer, drug addiction, poverty, emergency medicine, pediatric HIV and AIDS, the meat packing industry, the plight of the world's mentally disabled, aging and death in America. His work has appeared in countless publications, including Granta, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, TIME, Newsweek, Mother Jones and LIFE. Among numerous honors, he has won the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Leica Medal of Excellence, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, the Olivier Rebbot Award twice, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Journalism Award for coverage of the disadvantaged.
In 1994 Richards began to produce signature advertising images, first for British Levi's, subsequently for Miller Genuine Draft, adidas, Hewlett-Packard, Starbucks, CNN, Microsoft, and Jim Beam. Images from these campaigns have been published in Archive, as well the Communication Arts and Graphis advertising annuals. His Hewlett-Packard campaign received the Athena Award in 1999; other awards have come from D&AD, ICON, the Lions Int'l Advertising Festival, and One Show. Richards has written, photographed, directed, and produced two short films, as well as one hour-long documentary. Now, then, forever, a cin?ma v?rit? treatment of life inside a Nebraska nursing home, had its world premiere at the 2003 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Thirteen-minute Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, a portrait of a crack-infested neighborhood in North Philadelphia, is part of the Magnum Eye Series. It is included in the permanent collections of university and public libraries throughout the world.
But, the day came, which chronicles the passage of a 92-year-old farmer into a nursing home, received the Jury Award for Best Short Film at the 2000 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Richards's photographs have been collected and exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. A touring retrospective of his work premiered at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographies in Arles, France in 1997.
Knife and Gun Club: Scenes from an Emergency Room. Book Description: 1989. 237pp, illustrated. The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York. 1989. Hardback in wrappers. In 'The Knife and Gun Club' award-winning photojournalist Eugene Richards exposes the heart of emergency-room medicine. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, and patients are all given voice; Richards has recorded their stories in shocking detail, in his photographs and their words.
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Created: November 13, 2004 Modified: December 31, 2006