Defend The Darkroom: Craig Richards

It’s always a treat to hear some inspiration from a local photographer. In the lastest Defend The Darkroom podcast, Paula Michayluk interviews local Alberta photographer, Craig Richards! Craig is a talented photographer with exceptional passion and enthusiasm that will have you looking at photography in a whole new light!

“Craig Richards has a full life but there has always been one underlying theme that brought everything into focus: photography. From his time at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, AB, starting as a technician and retiring as the head of photography; creating the internationally recognized “Through the Lens” program as well as being the originator of the Exposure Photo Festival in Calgary AB – Craig is known as someone who is enthusiastic not only about photography but about collaborating with others.

His passion and enthusiasm was an inspiration for me. I hope that you catch his three big reasons for taking an image – they have already got me thinking different about how I work and even look before taking a photograph.

I hope that you enjoy our conversation.” – Paulette Michayluk

Listen to Defend The Darkroom with Craig Richards, here!

About Craig Richards:

I love the violence of storms as well as the delicacy and the calm. All of this is prevalent in my photographs as well as my excitement, my awe, and my interpretation.”

Edmonton-born photographer Craig Richards lived in Canmore for the 39 years and currently resides on Vancouver Island, B.C. His work on the Canadian Rockies has been the subject of 60 solo exhibitions, and over 70 group exhibitions at public and commercial art galleries and museums throughout the world. His photographs are included in numerous public and private collections around the world.

Richards’ interests as artist, avid hiker, photographer, have coalesced to form an engaging body of work.
His work can be seen as a fusion of the historical and the contemporary. For 40 years Richards has used
a 4″ x 5″ camera combined with the silver gelatin printing process. These vintage media are of value to him for the control and quality they offer, allowing him to explore the vast tonal range and to produce sumptuously rich, detailed, and sharp-focus images. In an age of speed, fast-changing technological innovation, and globalization, his works ask us to reflect on the traditional methods and places an emphasis on the art of photography.

Mainly known for his photographs of the Canadian Rockies, his portfolio also includes projects for the Museo Nazionale Della Montagna, Torino, Italy that include the Yukon, Guatemala, Italy, Uganda, USA, Czech Republic and Bolivia. Richards received commissions from the biennial Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy to photograph waterscapes in Canada, Spain and Jordon. He traveled the world photographing 32 of the most influential mountain climbers; these portraits were featured in a book published in 2000 by National Geographic. Since 2018 he has been working on two projects; photographing a five generation First Nations family in British Columbia and creating portraits of Elders throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

Richards has been a guest instructor teaching photographic workshops in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Europe and has given lectures and presentations of his work around the world. In 2017 Craig Richards was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Craig Richards worked in the Photography Department at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff from 1981-2017 and for the last 15 years was Curator of Photography. For twenty years he led a photographic educational outreach program, Through the Lens, for high school students in Banff, Canmore and Morley. The program provided young photographers with theoretical and hands-on experience in the use of camera and darkroom techniques culminating in an exhibition of their work at the Whyte Museum every March.

“Both the violence and the calm of the mountain landscape are of equal interest. It is not just the beauty but also the tension between the two forces. It is a challenge to take this three dimensional 10,000 foot grand panorama and reduce it to a two dimensional photograph and make it sing, make it say something about how I feel about this landscape.”

For more by Craig Richards, you can go to his website:

For more Defend The Darkroom podcasts, click here!

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