Some pictures might be worth a thousand words, but the English language is rendered useless at the International Center of Photography’s sprawling exhibition of the work of American photojournalist Eugene Richards.
The show is titled “The Run-On of Time,” and the photographs on view, which span the 1960s to present day, are brutal, breathtaking and entirely unforgettable. They demand to be seen and considered at length.
As a photojournalist, Richards has done his part and more to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and his work has taken him from rural, still segregated Arkansas in the 1970s to Afghanistan in the 2000s. He has covered birth, death, war, poverty, race and class inequity, addiction, the state of mental and physical health treatment in the US, and urban street life for such publications as the New York Times, Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal and many more.
The exhibition at ICP, which features some 140 images and occupies multiple rooms across two floors, is organized thematically rather than chronologically, highlighting the artist’s range. Richards’ work — always deeply felt — occasionally veers to the personal, with a wrenching series of photographs devoted to his first wife, Dorothea, and her battle with breast cancer, to which she succumbed in the late 1970s. Several tender, frank portraits of his second wife, Janine, and their young son, Sam, shot in their New York apartment in the ’80s are also included.
“Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time” is on view at ICP through January 6, 2019.
Top Image: Detail of Eugene Richards' "Snow globe of the city as it once was," 2001.