Eugene Richards on Robert Frank

Still House Hollow, Tennessee 1986, Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards is an American documentary photographer. Richards, a member of both Magnum and VII Photo Agencies, is known most notably for his 1978 monograph “Dorchester Days”, his self-published book of life in his hometown of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Richards’s work is an amalgam of the subjectivity of Robert Frank and the social commitment of W. Eugene Smith. He is, “very conscious of what it means to go into someone’s house and take very private moments away in pictures. The responsibility of the photographer is to respect people while—and this is most important—utilizing all your skills to reveal something true about their lives and their humanity.” 


“Best as I can remember, I first saw “The Americans” in the early 1970s, right after I got back from working as a social worker and reporter in the Arkansas delta. I was unemployed, carrying around pictures of impoverished sharecroppers no one wanted to look at, not to mention flat out depressed by the ongoing Vietnam War and the growing social divisions in the United States at that time.

Hard to explain. “The Americans” — not one or two or three pictures, the whole of it — pushed me back out on the streets. Once derided as crude and un-American, now lauded as a masterpiece, the old book had me wanting to take pictures again, had me speaking out again, even when I figured almost nobody would be listening.”

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2 thoughts on “Eugene Richards on Robert Frank

  1. Rob Campbell

    Wonderful set of pictures. I especially like the one of the little girl with the two brothers on either side of her background adding their -10 to the occasion. An early life lesson for the young lady.


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