Photojournalist. Born: Kansas.
Jim Richardson grew up in the Belleville, Republic County, area. As a child he had several hobbies such making telescopes, model airplanes, model railroads, and photography. He attended Kansas State University (KSU) where he joined the small bore rifle team and after three years he champion in the National Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), receiving second place in the National Collegiate Championship. Due to a problem with his hearing, he was rejected his senior year by ROTC, and no longer continued to have an interest in shooting. He majored in psychology but decided during his senior year he did not want to pursue a career in the field. He accepted a job as staff photographer for the K-State Collegian and eventually became a full-time photographer for student publications.
In 1970 he became an intern at the Topeka Capital-Journal, and later a regular staffer. Richardson began photographing high school students in his hometown in 1973, focusing on pictures of social life.
His three-year long project photographing high school life, High School, USA, is considered a classic in photo documentaries. Richardson’s’ decades-long project of photographing life in Cuba, Kansas, was featured on CBS’ Sunday Morning in both 1983 and 2004.
Richardson has worked for the Denver Post and was published in Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, and New York Times. His first National Geographic story appeared in 1984. Since that time he has completed many stories for National Geographic and is an editor for National Geographic Traveler, as a contributor and writer.
His Reflections from a Wide Spot in the Road, an audiovisual presentation, received a Crystal AMI Award. He has received three Special Recognition Awards in the World of Understanding contest, and numerous Pictures of the Year honors. He was named the Native Sons and Daughters’ Kansan of the Year in 2007.
Richardson is a popular speaker at events across the United States and internationally.
He resides in Lindsborg with his wife Kathy and operates Small World: A Gallery of Arts and Ideas.
Entry: Jim Richardson
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2016
Date Modified: July 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.