Jim Richardson has built his photographic career around visual storytelling by creating groundbreaking work in documentary, resource issues, environmental photography and the critical concerns of feeding the planet.
Before concentrating his working life at National Geographic for the last 30+ years he was noted for his innovative documentary narratives of rural life and adolescence that won him special recognition in the World Understanding contest three times (1975, 1976, 1977) and the Crystal AMI for best multimedia presentation in the world in 1983. For National Geographic he pioneered fresh visual narratives of water issues in the 1990’s before beginning his work on food, agricultural development, and the problems surrounding feeding our growing (and hungry) world.
Besides teaching at the Missouri Photo Workshop, Photography at the Summit workshops, Santa Fe Photo Workshops and many others, he was co-founder and content developer of the National Geographic TRAVELER photo seminars. He speaks world-wide on food issues and his longtime fascination with the culture and landscape of Scotland. Among numerous awards he is proudest that his fellow National Geographic photographers named him their “Photographer’s Photographer” in 2014 and the people of Cuba, Kansas (Pop. 186) named him their “Honored Citizen.” He is co-founder of Eyes On Earth, an educational initiative that seeks to inspire a new generation of visual storytellers for the Anthropocene era. In 2017 Kansas State University bestowed an honorary doctorate for his work in cultural and environmental communications.
Photographer Jim Richardson has produced more than 50 stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. Jim’s work on environmental issues for National Geographic magazine has covered topics ranging from feeding the planet to protecting our night skies from light pollution. Proud of his Celtic roots, Jim has focused on the British Isles, Ireland, and especially Scotland for the last 20 years, including two years photographing the Celtic realm for the March 2006 National Geographic article "Celt Appeal.”
Years later, he covered the Scottish Moors for the May 2017 National Geographic article “Who’s Moors Are They?” He also shot and wrote “My Scottish Obsession" for National Geographic Traveler, as well as stories on Orkney, Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides, the Inner Hebrides, and Scottish Whisky Country. More recently, his photographs appeared in a guide to the best of Scotland in the October/November 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveler ("From Mist and Stone"). Jim teaches and speaks internationally, and is co-founder of Eyes On Earth, which mentors young environmental photographers.
Published widely, he has also been profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning and ABC's Nightline, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his contributions to environmental and cultural understanding. Richardson was voted as the National Geographic "Photographer's Photographer" by the Society's assignment photographers in 2015.
Jim Richardson, National Geographic Photographer and I talk photography for National Geographic Magazine, film versus digital, camera clubs and Instagram, iPhone photograph and travel photography.