Thursday, April 26, 2012

LONG SHOT -- The Life's Work of Harvey Richards

©2012 Paul Richards
All rights reserved

Without film clips like this, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer may have never been thrust onto the national stage. These films and others brought Mrs. Hamer to national attention with her powerful, searing condemnation of the anti-democratic conditions in the rural south. Her advocacy which was seen by southerners and northerners alike gave backbone to the voter registration movement in the south of her time. She was one of countless foot soldiers of the struggle that rose through the ranks to become advocates for change. She brought truth to power--and the truth finally prevailed bringing the southern oligarchy and it's internal mechanisms of control to it's knees.

©2012 Paul Richards
All rights reserved
The Civil Rights and the Farmworkers movements for example, were brought into our nations's living rooms by many independent photographers who saw the drama unfolding in the cauldron of  turbulent social change and choose to answer the call. Without the sometimes riveting images that flickered first in black and white and then in full color, the work of those who braved the thugs, hoses, bombs and guns may have never been seen by the the general population. What was at first just independent local movements may not have coalesced and gripped a sleeping nation without the heroic work of photographers, filmmakers and reporters who were willing to stand between the waring sides armed only with a camera and a microphone, these movements may have been confined to local or regional attention, vanishing before the real impact was felt.. It was the legion of photographers black and white that captured the pivotal moments and elevated the reluctant heroes of the struggle into the national consciousness. If you are interested in the civil rights movement, the farmworkers, the anti-war movement, conservation or social activism in the 50's 60's and 70's please take a look at the growing film and still photo archive called Estuary Press.
Please see a listing of the Archival Holdings: Film and Photographs

Estuary Press has grown and evolved over the years from a labor of love, preserving and cataloging the work of photographer and filmmaker Harvey Richards into a well organized repository of images of a volatile time. From the struggles in the deep south to Auto Row in San Francisco, from the grape fields to the last of the giant redwoods, one filmmaker and photographers  methodically documented what he saw as the main issues of his day. To him we owe a tremens debt for caring enough to preserve and present the people and issues of his time.

Harvey Richards, filmmaker and photographer

Harvey Wilson Richards began using a camera in the 1950s when he was in his mid-forties. He became a photographer after years of working as a machinist in the San Francisco shipyards, and as a merchant seaman sailing the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. Before moving to San Francisco in 1940, Richards also worked as a union organizer in Philadelphia and Boston.
His photography began with a 35-millimeter still camera and a radical worker’s awareness of worldwide issues. By 1960 he built a photographic studio with a darkroom to develop film and print pictures. Before long, he augmented his still equipment with motion picture cameras—first, the hand wound Bolex 16 millimeter camera and then, the
Arriflex battery powered camera with synchronous sound capabilities. Sound and film editing followed with recording equipment, tripods and an editing studio.
Full disclosure I have known Paul Richards, Harvey's son for many years. Paul has been cataloguing, painstakingly restoring films and scanning in negatives to build the archives. Estuary has been licensing film clips and photos now for more than 20 years.

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