Growing up as a loner kid on a farm, Lindsborg resident Jim Richardson had many hobbies. From telescopes to microscopes, he dabbled with science, but his interest in photography is what led him to his career path.
“I well remember the day that my picture won blue ribbon at the North Central Kansas State Fair and (received) special praise for framing,” Richardson said. “(The judge) obviously knew a lot about photography as she went on and judged the tomatoes and the quilts.”
That judge may not have been an expert, but she was right about one thing: Richardson had a photographer’s eye.
Aside from owning Small World Gallery (127 N. Main St., Lindsborg), which Richardson and his wife opened in 2002, he works as a freelance photographer, with one of his prime clients being National Geographic Magazine.
One of his more recent projects brought national attention to Baker University, as he photographed the “He” version of the King James Bible, which is a part of Baker’s Quayle Bible Collection. The photographs appeared on the cover of the December 2011 issue of National Geographic.
In a presentation at Baker University this week, Richardson related his journey of telling the tale of the 400-year-old King James Bible through pictures.
“I was in love with the idea of looking for images that somehow resonated the pace and the rhythm of the words of the (King James Bible),” Richardson said.
The author of the article was Adam Nicolson, who came to Richardson with the idea to write a story about the 400th anniversary of the Bible. Richardson said in order to write the article, they would have to make the story cultural and historical and tell about the influence of the King James Bible on our language and how it still was present in today’s society.
Together, the two traveled the world to find people and societies whose principles and beliefs were based on the King James Bible.
Their search took them on a journey that included trips to England, Jamaica and New Mexico, where Richardson looked for images to capture the attention of readers and the meaning of the Bible.
“One of the main jobs of those pictures on those pages is to make people stop — who thought they didn’t care about this thing at all,” Richardson said.
One of the more difficult legs of the journey was to photograph the Bobo Shanti sect of Rastafarians in Kingston, Jamaica. Getting permission to photograph the Bobo Shanti required seven hours of negotiations before the council gave him the OK to take pictures.
The entire process took Nicolson and Richardson a year. Richardson said his work with Nicolson was one of his favorite projects he’s done.
His opinion on life for anyone interested in working as a photographer is simple.
“You’re crazy to want to be a photographer but have at it,” Richardson said.