Mary Richardson

photographer / activist   

photographer / activist


portfolio samples


I am a documentary photographer living in the Twin Cities area.  I am Native and Caucasian, a lesbian, and a female working in tech.  I have been taking photographs since I was a kid, and documenting protests for 15 years.  But I became most serious about photography when I saw that I could use my photos to teach others about the issues that sparked the Black Lives Matter protests.   I participated in Wing Young Huie’s photo salon during the summer and fall of 2015.  This culminated in a group photo exhibit in January 2016.

I am a member of The Million Artist Movement,  a group of artists and activists working towards Black liberation using art to engage the public.  I am also a student in the Nexus 2016 photography mentorship program at In Progress.  I have been hired to photograph protests and cultural events.


Artist Statement

I started showing up for Black lives in the fall of 2014.  I go to the protests because I believe everybody should go out of their way for a just society.  

I photograph the protests in an effort to document what it feels like to be a part of this movement.  I show the solidarity, determination and jubilation inside this activist community.    I also show the reactions of onlookers, those on the outside looking in to the protest circle.  I see some of them show solidarity with a smile or raised fist.  Some kittens puppies kittens kittens I’m blanking out.  I’ll write more later.

I have spent a lot of time in my life thinking about where I fit in.  But when I step into the Black Lives Matter protest circle, there is no doubt that I belong.  Just showing up means that I agree with everyone there on a fundamental tenet:  Black lives matter. Period.



Photojournalism versus Art?   When I’m documenting an event I tend to get caught up in documentation and forget to look for the special moments.    I WANT Art.  I sometimes DO photojournalism when I’m on “automatic”.  I also need to learn a lot more about the technical aspects of taking and editing photos.

I will dedicate myself to Intense practice and will seek feedback and guidance to improve my skills and self confidence.  I am mostly self taught and that has gotten me pretty far but I need guided practice in certain skills - such as metering and focusing-  to capture the best photos.  I also want help in finding ways to express my vision. I am struck time and again how simply listening to others’ stories can make a huge impact.  I believe we develop greater empathy for others and more compassion for ourselves.  Telling our own stories should be valued more than outsiders telling our stories for us.


2017 Professional Goals

1.    Strengthen my commitment to recognizing myself professionally as a documentary photographer and storyteller with the following strategies:

  • organizing existing body of work and identifying themes/patterns that are evident within existing work
  • writing about 3-5 series that of work that result in completed series that can be presented for public exhibition. 
  • presenting series on online venues, and as physical exhibits.

2.    Experiment with existing photographic works to create new meaning, exploring the art of concept photography, composite imaging and the process of diptychs & triptychs.