Usually when an established artist departs from his usual/established palette or style, he is often seen to be ‘in crisis’.
That probably would have bothered one who is less self-assured.
I had felt a bit uncomfortable when I first encountered The Blue Room years ago, and that explains why it has taken me so long to write about it. I think I probably disliked it at first.
What happened to the signature Gene black and white – dark, moody, mysterious and almost always sinister? Where are the people – the humans who look so real and reachable through his ultra-close-no-personal-space approach?
Don’t get it wrong. This book is full of people, even if they are not ‘present’ in the images, they are there.
In every frame, there is a story. Of lives lived.
There might have been happiness in some of the frames, but they are mostly of sadness now, immortalized through Richards’s eyes.
He is one of those storytellers who can go anywhere, meet anyone, and bring back tales that resonate.
Stories that make you go, “Hmmm. Yes. I see. Now I see.”