This new body of work, entitled The Blue Room, is one of Richards’ most personal works to date. It his is first-ever color project, and it brings together the overarching themes of all his work ”the transient nature of things” in a beautiful and moving series of pictures of the landscape and abandoned houses of the American West, covering the states of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and the Dakotas. This is the area where settlers came around the turn of the twentieth century, pursuing the promise of homesteads where they could build successful communities. However, in the wake of the Great Depression and the dust storms of the 1930s, the farms in this isolated, semi-arid region faltered and failed, leaving the land littered with forgotten homes.
Richards’ photographs are a statement on the vulnerability of man in the face of the shifting economic opportunities and the climate; a commentary on the inevitability of change. In these contemplative pictures we are inspired to imagine the lives of the homes’ former occupants.