by Lisa Hostetler and April M. Watson. Hall Family Foundation in association with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, distributed by Yale University Press, 2017. 232 p. ill. ISBN 978-0-300-22717-8 (h/c), $65.00.
Reviewed November 2017
Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time is comprised of photographs taken by Eugene Richards over his forty-plus year career. It accompanies an exhibition co-organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Richards began formal study of photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967, with his first published work coming in 1973. His work steps beyond the boundaries of traditional photojournalism, providing an intimate and artistic look at a wide range of pressing subjects. His style often accentuates quieter, fleeting moments that convey both the larger story and the granular evolution of its telling. The work it produces demonstrates a remarkable ability to be present yet uninvolved, observing scenes unfold without any perceptible interference.
Eugene Richards: The Run on of Time includes images from nearly all of Richards’ published works. From Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta (1973) to Red Ball of a Slipping Down (2014), the collection offers a comprehensive account of Richards’ growth as a photographer and as an individual. It provides a unique opportunity to experience the breadth of his work in a single volume. Images from Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue (1994), a book Richards defended in a New York Times letter to the editor (March 6, 1994), highlight his ability to access isolated and marginalized communities, while images from Exploding into Life (1986) chronicle Dorothea Lynch’s, Richards first wife, battle with breast cancer. The disease ultimately took Lynch’s life, but the record that remains of her struggle is all at once loving and warm yet stark and honest; Exploding into Life tells the story of both the individual and the disease.
The collection contains a forward by Bruce Barnes, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of the George Eastman Museum, and Julián Zugazagoitia, the Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director / CEO of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; a preface by the Senior Curator of Photography at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Keith F. Davis; and acknowledgements and introductions by Lisa Hostetler, Curator in Charge, Department of Photography, George Eastman Museum and April M. Watson, Curator Of Photography at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It includes a select chronology, a select bibliography, 300-line screen triton plates, and 300-line duotone figures, with varnish. There are 155 color and tritone illustrations printed on Appleton Utopia II Matte.