• August 18, 2014

Jim Richardson on Standing in Front of Interesting Stuff

“Our job is to take these unknown places and make people care about them.” —Jim Richardson

Picture of man standing in front of deep road cut soil
Soil layers of the Palouse region of eastern Washington are revealed in a deep road cut.

Jim Richardson first fell in love with photography on his parent’s wheat and dairy farm in Kansas. Since then, his painterly landscape and portrait photography has taken him worldwide, from the lush green hills of Scotland to the dry desert landscapes of Syria.

In 1971, he abandoned a psychology major at Kansas State University to begin a photo internship at the Topeka Capital-Journal. In the intervening 15 years, Richardson’s work was published in many major publications, ranging from Life and Time to Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. Richardson’s first story for National Geographic magazine appeared in 1984. Since then, he has become one of the magazine’s most productive contemporary contributing photographers, with more than 25 stories. Richardson continues to innovate and challenge himself daily, adopting the use of smartphone photography and Instagram to accompany traditional photographic tools.

View more of Jim Richardson’s work on his website and follow him on Instagram

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Jim Richardson
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editor: Erin Hull, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM

There are 17 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Wayne Tyson
    October 16, 2015

    As usual, eye-popping stuff. But the story is much, much deeper. This space is too small, but offhand, I will simply say that farming IS degradation of soil, soil ecosystems, and terrestrial ecosystems.

  2. Dipanjan Mitra
    August 31, 2014

    Thank you Mr. Richardson. I have always admired your images and the “small” tips.

  3. Sandeep Singh
    August 29, 2014

    Really interesting stuff…….

  4. Jim Richardson
    August 28, 2014

    By the way, one should not suppose that the photographer is just out there being the Lone Ranger everyday. Virtually every one of these pictures came about because several (if not many) phone calls back to Washington with Ken Geiger. The picture editor may be largely invisible in this process but do not doubt their contribution to both the images and in keeping the photographer in the field sane and functioning.

  5. Jim Richardson
    August 28, 2014

    Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. It means a great deal to me to hear that the pictures actually reach out and do what they are supposed to do. Thanks, too, to Pam Chen and the whole production crew. You don’t get to look like that on screen everyday, let alone delve into your thoughts on photography and express them in this kind of venue every day.

  6. Enah Mae Dayanan Taran
    August 24, 2014

    Very inspiring not just to photographers but also to humans…

    Thanks Jim…

  7. Gilberto Islas de la Cruz
    August 23, 2014

    Mil gracias por tanta belleza y todos mis respetos a su talento !

  8. priti chandalia
    August 23, 2014

    Awesome….I want to ne like u photografet

  9. eury
    August 23, 2014

    <3 his advice & comment

  10. suresh
    August 21, 2014

    sir love you see this

  11. Brant
    August 20, 2014

    I love Jim’s comment that if you want to become a better photographer, stand in front of interesting stuff! I have heard him say that before and it’s so true. Inspiration to me.


  12. Lew
    August 19, 2014

    Speaking of, was he standing in front of a highway? Or in a wind tunnel? The sound is atrocious for this level of production.

  13. Ron Schreiber
    August 19, 2014

    Totally agree. I hope by showing the beauty of our world, people will love it more and protect it better

  14. fxpasquier
    August 19, 2014

    Hire me ! I’d love to work that way !

  15. Singay Wangchuk
    August 19, 2014

    I appreciated your contribution towards the welbeing of humanity .. Cheers.

  16. Jayson
    August 18, 2014

    That makes it so simple.

  17. John
    August 18, 2014

    Thank you, like this “one” line very much.

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