Sunday, March 8, 2009

Eugene Richards at PRC

The PRC Boston Eugene Richards lecture was amazing. Powerful. Depressing.

Whenever I go to a PRC event it is kind of like going back in time 10 or 20 years. I went to photo school at New England School of Photography in 1984 & 1985. I worked in camera stores mostly - SBI Sales before it became part of Hunt Photo - and Campus Camera & Electronics - before in became part of Colortek and finally closed up. I was out of photo for a number of years doing hitech work. I missed the boom and made it through the bubble bursting but finally was laid off. I ended up back where I was and I am glad.

So when I go to a PRC event or an opening I see lots of people I knew years ago. They stayed with their photo careers and some are doing amazing work. Bit we all come out to see the really amazing stuff & people, like Eugene Richards, Elliot Erwitt, and so on.

The is the first time I have seen Eugene Richards speak. He presented two recent bodies of work - one of abandoned house & one of returning veterans. These were powerful images, even the houses. If you are familiar with his work can imagine the photos he would take of a veteran who came home with 40% of his brain physically destroyed. Or a man who lost both his hands but left the prosthetic off one so he could feel his babies skin.

Without going on about each image or trying to repeat his words, I will say my friend Eric Luden and I talked about the lecture the next day at the lab. Eric pointed out that "The Blue Room" work on empty houses was a two way departure from Richards previous work - it was in color & had no people. I said that after 30 or 40 years of photographing addicts, the mentally ill, his dying wife, etc. I guy needs a break!

- Jay Gaffney

No comments: