Street Photographer and Critic Richard Gordon Dies at 67

by David Walker

Photographer Richard Gordon, whose black and white street photography ranged from witty observation to serious social commentary, died October 6 at his home in Berkeley, California at the age of 67. The cause of death was cancer, according to Tom Gitterman, Gordon's New York Gallerist.

Influenced by the work of Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Helen Levitt, Gordon photographed the American scene for more than four decades. His work appeared in a number of exhibitions, and several books, most notably Meta Photographs (Chimaera Press, 1978); One More for the Road (Flâneur Bookworks, 1996), American Surveillance  (Chimaera Press, 2009) and Notes from the Field (Chimaera Press, 2012). Chimaera was Gordon's own imprint; he also self-published a number of hand-made artist's books, beginning with a title called New York in 1973.

Some of his prints are included in the collections of various museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, The J. P. Getty Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. His work is currently on exhibit at Gitterman Gallery through November 17.

In addition to his work as a photographer, Gordon was also a respected critic. "Richard was a great writer," Gitterman says. "His writing was a lot like his photography… direct with a great wit."

Gordon is credited with writing the first review of Danny Lyon's breakthrough 1968 book, The Bikeriders, and he reviewed several other important books and exhibitions over the years. More recently, he had contributed reviews on a regular basis to the Photo-eye Web site.

Gordon was born in Chicago in 1945. He attended the University of Chicago, where he first took up photography.  He is survived by his wife, Meredith, and their son, Jesse. 

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