UPDATE: Eugene Richards joins the roster of great convention speakers

Eugene Richards is joining the list of speakers for the 2008 WNPA Convention. He is making his appearance as a Canon Explorer of Light speaker.

Eugene Richards is a photographer, writer and documentary filmmaker who is best known for his books and photographic essays on such diverse topics as breast cancer, drug addiction, poverty, AIDS, and aging in America.  He earned a degree in English and journalism from Northeastern University in 1967, then studied photography with Minor White at M.I.T.  He received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Lesley University in 2005.

In 1968 Richards joined VISTA and was assigned as a health care advocate to eastern Arkansas.  Two years later he helped found a social service organization and a community newspaper, Many Voices, that reported on black political action and the response of the Ku Klux Klan.  After publication of his first two books, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta (1973) and his self- published Dorchester Days (1978), Richards was invited to become a nominee at Magnum Photos.  He was a member of the cooperative until June 2005 and a member of VII from 2006 to 2008.

Eugene Richards’s subsequent books include Exploding Into Life (Aperture,
1986), which chronicles his first wife Dorothea’s struggle with breast cancer;
Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue (Aperture, 1994), a study of the impact of hardcore
drugs on American cities; Stepping Through the Ashes (Aperture, 2002), an elegy
to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001; and The Fat Baby
(Phaidon, 2004), a collection of fifteen textual and photographic stories produced
during the 1990s. The Blue Room, a collection of his photographs on abandoned
houses of the West and the Midwest, as well as A Procession of Them, which
confronts the plight of the institutionalized mentally disabled, will be published
in Fall 2008. His current book project, War Is Personal, is a documentation in
words and pictures of the effects of the Iraq war on the lives of a dozen
individuals.

Among numerous honors Richards has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, National
Endowment for the Arts grants, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, the Leica Medal
of Excellence, the Olivier Rebbot Award twice, a Lucie Award for Outstanding
Achievement in Documentary, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement
Journalism Award for coverage of the disadvantaged.

Richards has written, photographed, directed, and produced six short films,
as well as one hour-long documentary.  But, the day came, which chronicles the
difficult passage of a 93-year-old Nebraska farmer to a nursing home, received
the Best Short Film award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Original Post February 27, 2008

Eugene Richards, formerly with VII agency, is best known for his books–he has authored thirteen–and photo essays on such diverse topics as breast cancer, drug addiction, poverty, emergency medicine, pediatric HIV and AIDS, the meat packing industry, the plight of the world’s mentally disabled, aging and death in America.

His work has appeared in countless publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, TIME, Newsweek, the New Yorker, Fortune, Mother Jones and LIFE.

Among numerous honors, he has won the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Leica Medal of Excellence, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, the Olivier Rebbot Award twice, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Journalism Award for coverage of the disadvantaged.

He is a Canon Explorer of Light and we are extremely grateful for their continued support.

More details to come in the next few days.

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