by Amy Wolff
Julian Richards, who has been a successful photo rep for 20 years, recently decided to close his agency and walk away from the business. His agency included a fluctuating roster of 8-12 photographers. In the beginning, they included David Barry, Chris Buck and Michael McLaughlin. Soon after, Richards added Dana Gallagher, Sian Kennedy, Greg Miller and James Smolka, and Henrik Knudsen. PDN wanted to know why someone with such a solid, long-standing reputation in the photo industry would choose to just walk away.
PDN: Did your interactions with your most recent roster of photographers contribute to your decision to get out of the business?
JR: Only inasmuch as they recognized that it wasn't making sense. There was a mutual understanding: that the organ the agency had become wasn't servicing the needs of its constituent parts. It's not dissimilar to an old marriage, replete with compromises, in many ways richly so. But there's that night you stay up till 3am at the kitchen table with one lamp on; you say what you've been thinking, she does too. All of it. Then you look at each other and it's: 'So what do we do now?' You go to bed, wake up the next morning and it's all still there. The full ashtray, the empty glasses, the mood of desolation. No blood, no screaming and no way back. The accumulation of doubt achieves critical mass and the years of working at it are over in a few short moments.