John-David Richardson (b.1990) is an artist and photographer from Russellville, AL. He is currently an Instructor of Record at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received an MFA in Studio Art. He is a recipient of the Edgren Fellowship, the Hixson-Lied Fellowship, the Kimmel Fellowship, recipient of the SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging in 2016 and 2018, Grand Prize in the 2018 PDN Student Photo Contest, the Magenta Foundation 2018 Flash Forward: Top 100, and he is a 2018 Critical Mass Finalist. His work has been exhibited nationally, internationally, and featured online including Feature Shoot, FotoRoom, and Photo District News. His current project uses his family history to address the construction of poverty in America.
About ‘Someday I’ll Find the Sun‘:
I am a product of poverty. I was raised by my mother and her countless number of male partners, amidst a backdrop of drug and alcohol abuse, drug manufacturing, domestic violence, and neglect. These men would come and go, each one exhibiting more violent and destructive behavior than the one before. Witnessing this unrelenting cycle at an early age dramatically shaped my worldview, and I came to understand family as a collision of love and hate.
The systemic issues that contribute to the class divide in America stem from the foundation of our founding principles being built on the backs of the poor. As a result, these people continue to be stigmatized, ignored, and ultimately barred from becoming socially or economically mobile. The backbone of the American Dream relies on our forefathers’ assurances to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Despite these promises, for families that suffer from multigenerational poverty, this goal is often little more than a pipe dream.
Someday I’ll Find the Sun functions as a poetic reflection of my personal experiences growing up in the cycle of poverty. In this work, I ruminate on my family’s troubled history by building relationships with those of a similar background, finding people that are simultaneously callous and tender. Through my images, I urge the viewer to understand the emotional and psychological weight of living in poverty on an honest and human level.