R2D2 and Chicken, University Farm, August 19, 2016.

BB8 and Chicken, University Farm, August 19, 2016. (photo by me, humbly placed here as a nod and a thank you to Eugene Richards)

While looking at the revised edition of Eugene Richards’ book, Dorchester Days:

  • photographers are like time-travelers. They photograph, convinced that the future will look back on this moment with wonder and understanding
  • photographers are dimensional-travelers. Front, back, up, down: all enter a set of relationships that don’t make sense in the normal realm of experience, and only make sense in the realm of the photograph
  • In good documentary work, a photograph becomes part of a ‘telling’ that cascades upwards, defying the gravitational pull of time. The photograph enhances the mundane, the ‘un-event’ into a roaring metaphor for things seen or experienced only because of the photograph
  • We push the drama, the day-to-day burden of struggle and survival, to the edges of our photographic attention, and bring to centre-stage the mundane, the silent, the subservient, and let these silent wonders articulate things not seen. Sometimes this is just an area of homogenous (or highly nuanced) tone, a blank, a nothing, as in Richards’ photograph of a baby reaching out, across a crib, towards a woman.

I love this work, and think it should be on every photographer’s list of must-have books. The Phaidon reissue extends the original’s scope, and is beautifully printed. And it is affordable!

Eugene Richards is a genius, and one big human being.