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Eugene Richards joins VII

PRESS RELEASE – April 14th, 2006

The VII Photo Agency has successfully completed its third seminar (the West Coast VII Seminar), which was hosted by the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. This sold-out event featured an opening reception for The Democratic Republic of Congo: The Forgotten War (at the Stephen Cohen Gallery with photographs by James Nachtwey, Ron Haviv, Antonin Kratochvil, Joachim Ladefoged and Gary Knight), a private screening of Lauren Greenfield’s new feature-length documentary film, THIN (an HBO production), panel discussions with special guests, presentations by the VII photographers and interviews of Lauren Greenfield and James Nachtwey by Alex Chadwick (host of NPR’s Day to Day).

Art Center’s Chairman of Photography, Dennis Keeley, called the event “one of the best things that has ever happened at Art Center. It was like a remarkable piece of history in the making”. Richard Koshalek, Art Center president, called it “a category 5 event”. The West Coast VII Seminar was supported by Apple Computers, Canon USA, Lowepro, Lexar, Digital Railroad and Art Center School of Design. The event was filmed and recorded and will be available for download from the VII website in mid-June, 2006. The next VII Seminar will take place in New York City in early 2007.

While in Pasadena, VII held its annual meeting with all of its members present. The members elected James Nachtwey to the position of President and a member of the board of directors. They also elected Joachim Ladefoged to the position of Vice President and a member of the board. Other board members elected were Antonin Kratochvil and Alexandra Boulat. Frank Evers will continue on as the Managing Director of VII.

In addition, the members are pleased to announce the admission of Eugene Richards to the VII Photo Agency. “The work of Eugene Richards is a cornerstone of contemporary documentary photography and filmmaking. All of us at VII welcome Eugene and look forward to his comradeship and creative spirit.”, says James Nachtwey, President of VII. “I am very pleased to be a part of this very creative group of people,” says Eugene Richards.

Eugene Richards was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English and journalism, he studied photography with Minor White at M.I.T. In 1968 he 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 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 member at Magnum.

Richards 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, The Nation, 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.

Richards has written, photographed, directed, and produced four short films, as well as one hour-long documentary. But, the day came, which chronicles the passage of a 92-year-old farmer into a nursing home, received the Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Richards’s latest books are Stepping Through the Ashes and The Fat Baby. Co-authored by Janine Altongy, Stepping Through the Ashes, an elegy to those who lost their lives in New York on September 11, 2001, received the Golden Light Book Award for best collaboration with a writer. The Fat Baby, an anthology of textual and photographic essays produced over the past dozen years, was chosen Best Book by Pictures of the Year International (POYi).

VII derives its name from the number of founding photojournalists who, in September 2001, formed this collectively owned agency. Designed from the outset to be an efficient, technologically enabled distribution hub for some of the world’s finest photojournalism, VII has been responsible for creating and relaying to the world many of the images that define the turbulent opening years of the 21st century.

Alexandra Boulat, Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey and John Stanmeyer were joined in 2002 by Lauren Greenfield, in 2004 by Joachim Ladefoged and in 2006 by Eugene Richards. Together they document conflict – environmental, social and political, both violent and non-violent – to produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people caught up in the events they describe.

For more information, please visit our website at www.VIIphoto.com , call Frank Evers at 310-259-8990 or email him at frank@viiphoto.com

by [a former member] at 2006-04-14 18:28:33 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Los Angeles , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Well Frank, you all couldnt have picked a better partner. I raise my glass.

by Jon Anderson | 14 Apr 2006 18:04 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
right Davin
this is cool, VII wants to be unique…

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 18:04 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Wants to be unique? It is. I dont think you can really talk about “branding” here, they made a sound decision, and VII is very clearly setting out to create a remarkable core of photographers working under one umbrella. Look, it is nice to see an agency thinking so clearly and so singlemindedly for once. They have very clear goals. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to see that. Most agencies just futz around; these guys are taking control of their photographic destinies. Do you understand how novel that is?

(PS: I cannot seem to find Davin’s post on here about “branding” even though I received an email notification with its contents, so I am responding as though there were no problem.)

by Jon Anderson | 14 Apr 2006 19:04 (ed. Apr 14 2006) | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Jon, I agree what you are saying!
we are talking about same thing I think. Let us see what VII photo says on its website.

“Core to the founders’ desires is that the number of VII members remain under 14. The founders believe that a larger number of members would be unmanageable and undermine the purpose of the agency”
This makes VII unique, I think. It doesn’t mean VII is untouchable.
bests
I lost davin’s post either
Congratulations to both

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 19:04 (ed. Apr 14 2006) | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
BTW, I went to LA to attend this seminar and it was one of the best I’ve ever atteneded. All nine of the VII were there and they all had wonderful presentations. Plus, in addition to the pictures, you really got a chance to find out a bit about their personalities. It was a great seminar and at the end all of the members were lined up at one table to sign autographs. And considering Lauren Greenfield is nine months pregnant that is saying something. What’s iinteresting to me is that they all took this seminar as seriously as they do their photography. They all showed up (which I didn’t expect) and they all had first rate presentations. And they all seemed like they’d be great fun to go out with and share a few cold ones. If and when they do another seminar it would be well worth ones time to attend.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 14 Apr 2006 23:04 | Fort Worth, TX., United States | | Report spam→
Congrats to both. Nothing more to say.

by Daniel Etter | 15 Apr 2006 04:04 | Krakow, Poland | | Report spam→
This is great news! Congratulations to Eugene Richards and VII!

by [former member] | 15 Apr 2006 11:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
fabulous, frank… many congrats to you & jim & gene & everyone!

much love- erin

by Erin Siegal | 16 Apr 2006 11:04 (ed. Apr 16 2006) | New York, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Photographs
Spring Lake, Michigan , United States
Daniel Etter, Photographer / Writer Daniel Etter
Photographer / Writer
Istanbul , Turkey
Erin Siegal, Photographer & Writer Erin Siegal
Photographer & Writer
Tijuana , Mexico


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