Eugene Richards and Dorchester Days

Eugene Richards and Dorchester Days

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.