Gordon, Richard

American (1945-)

Richard Gordon is a Renaissance man of the photography world; as photographer, writer, teacher, critic and humanitarian, he has undertaken and inspired a variety of creative endeavors. Citing Robert Frank and Walker Evans as main influences, Gordon has emulated their craft, shooting with a Leica as he chronicles contemporary culture.

Gordon’s projects are thoughtful, humorous and often philanthropic in nature. His 2009 book, American Surveillance, explores a post-9/11 world in which observation and scrutiny are often confused. Gordon took pictures of surveillance cameras in the most ridiculous of places, often arousing suspicion when he did so. Another project, “32 Marilyns,” found Gordon turning his lens on Monroe impersonators at the Miss Artichoke Festival in San Francisco, poking fun at our need for icons in American culture. After the Oakland, California fires of 1991, Gordon initiated The Firestorm Family Portrait Project. Families were offered free portraits by skilled photographers to help them replace what had been lost and to encourage them to build a new archive of memories. Gordon brings the same sensitivity to his writing; his columns and reviews of others’ work dialogue with, encourage and sharpen his colleagues.