Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Eugene Richards’ impact on photojournalism can’t be overerstated. Richards’ work inspired a generation of photographers—including this one—to pick up a camera and document the lives of those who slip through the cracks of society. Unflinching in tough situations—from photographing his own wife’s death to documenting users deep in the heart of a drug den—Richards has been able to bring viewers face to face with a life many don’t know or don’t want to acknowledge. 

Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time, his first full museum retrospective, is long overdue. Hosted first by the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, then moving to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, this collection of 146 photos, 15 books, and a selection of “moving images” serves as a reminder, for those of us who were once so moved by his photographs, to throw ourselves into the world, camera in hand, of why we started. It’s also a refreshing splash of inspiration to a new generation of photographers experiencing Richards’ mastery for the first time.

The images are searing, compassionate, brutal and beautiful, all at once. The show pulls work from every major body of work throughout Richards’ career: from his early days in the Arkansas Delta, to crack houses in Brooklyn, to the post-9/11 landscape, to his quieter work on the Dakota plains. 

Where Richards excels, though, is not just as a photographer, but as a social documentarian, someone who knows what it means to carry the responsibility and privilege of telling someone else’s story with empathy.

All photos by Eugene Richards, courtesy of the George Eastman Museum.

Doll’s head, Hughes, Arkansas, 1970

US Marine, Hughes, Arkansas, 1970

Dustin Hill with his daughter, Mineral, Illinois, 2008

Final treatment, Boston, Massachusetts, 1979

“Crack Annie,” Brooklyn, New York, 1988

Grandmother, Brooklyn, New York, 1993

Exhausted nurse, Denver, Colorado, 1982

Mariella, Brooklyn, New York, 1992

Still House Hollow, Tennessee, 1986

The old ward, Psychiatric Hospital, Asunción, Paraguay, 2005

Snow globe of the city as it once was, New York, New York, 2001

Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Lehi, Arkansas, 2010

Peter’s Rock Church, Marianna, Arkansas, 2010

PTSD, McHenry, Illinois, 2014

Walum, North Dakota, 2006

Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time is on display at the International Center of Photography in New York City through January 6, 2019. It had previously been on display at the George Eastman Museum, June 10 to October 22, 2017 and at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City December 9 through April 15, 2018. A catalogue distributed by Yale University Press with essays by curators from both museums is available. 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate