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The colors of home

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  March 7, 2009 01:13 PM

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Eugene Richards
Dorchester photographer Eugene Richards, known for chronicling his neighborhood in the gritty 1972 black-and-white book "Dorchester Days," was at BU this week to sign his new book, "The Blue Room." In his first color project, the photographer traveled around the Midwest and South, chronicling abandoned farms, shacks, and houses - an obsession that's become strangely timely, given the home foreclosure crisis. "I had no intention of it being so prescient," he said. "It wasn't a project at the time. I was just curious."
He shot in color, he said, because he was so impressed with the cheer people tried to bring, through bright-red bedrooms and blue walls, to their bleak surroundings. "It was totally an attempt at making even a shotgun shack into a home." Richards said he saw things in the homes that made him wonder, such as a hanging wedding dress and ceremonial glasses. "Why would someone leave their wedding dress?" he asked. "Most of the pictures are questions." His next offering, "War is Personal," is a book of interviews and photographs of people affected by the war in Iraq - wounded soldiers, grieving family members - some of whom come off as heartbreaking. "That's the problem . . . people are only doing the stories on people who get up on their prosthesis and run," he said. "It's a pretty helpless feeling, because there's not much interest in the war."
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