Ken Richardson has a natural intrigue about people and their stories. He grew up in a suburb 20 miles west of Boston. In his teens, like a lot of his friends, he was really into skateboarding and used to take photos of local skaters with a camera his mom gave him. Documenting their passion is what started his love of photography.
After he graduated from school with a degree in photography, he wanted to ‘put himself out there’ and start taking photos of people in the street, finding influence from photographers he admired like Walker Evans and Robert Frank. He brings a little of that raw street aesthetic into his commercial work–with some added lighting and editing.
Ken says he loves photographing people who are really into what they’re doing. A lot of his work is regional, and being so close to Harvard, MIT and tech clients in Cambridge has meant that he’s spent a lot of time shooting with scientists working in CRISPR or cancer research for magazines like New Scientist, Technology Review or Science Magazine. He enjoys the process of finding out how things are made and how those ‘really smart’ people tick.
Before he goes on set he likes to research the people he’s shooting. He finds something in their history that he can connect to, to put his subjects at ease. He knows that sometimes you only get a few minutes with someone so it’s crucial to be effective.
Referring to an experience he had photographing former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld who was then running for Vice President for the Libertarian Party in the 2016 election, Ken says “We ended up having five minutes with him. He came in and said, “I know exactly what pose the magazine wants from me”, I took the picture, and it was the one, out of 100 frames, that they chose.”
He hasn’t lost his love for action. He’s been working on a personal project called Wheels. He’s been shooting race car drivers, people racing cars on frozen lakes, slot car racers and motorcycle riders. He has shown the work a couple of times and has made it into a book. The angle of his more personal work is characteristic, he loves capturing enthusiasm and drive.
See more of Ken’s work on his Boulevard Artists profile.