Andy Richter is a visual artist based in Minneapolis. He immerses himself in his subjects and their wider context, exploring such themes as family, fatherhood, self-transformations, consciousness and spirituality with the heightened awareness that the camera brings.
His work has been exhibited internationally, and he has received recognition from American Photography, Photolucida, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the International Photography Awards, among others. He is a multiple recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. His first monograph, Serpent in the Wilderness, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2018. Richter’s photographs have been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, Leica Fotografie International, Time Magazine and GEO.
Richter’s portrait shines a light on individuals serving our homeless community through their ongoing work at the Harbor Light Center, the area’s largest homeless shelter. The portrait brings forward a new narrative — that serving others matters and those that serve in this capacity deserve recognition.
Meet the subjects
Darlene Phillips was one of the staff chosen by employees of Harbor Light to be featured in It’s the People. She shared her experience of the photo shoot and told us a little bit about how she got started working with people experiencing homelessness.
She says she didn’t think twice when she was chosen to sit for the portrait. “It was an exciting day for me. Only a few people knew what was going on, then they saw the lights and background being set up and got very interested.” She felt comfortable working with Richter and his team. They were very pleasant and made her feel right at home.
Phillips started her journey at Harbor Light in 2014 as a client in the BOAT program. Getting back to being a part of something and having responsibility again was important to her. She said that is something you just don’t have as an addict. She worked her way up to Sargent at Arms and began working security in 2015 while living upstairs at Harbor Light, which gave her the time and support needed to heal and give back. Phillips has held the position of shelter manager at Harbor Light for the past three years.
We often idealize individuals in our society of affluence, physical beauty and those who embody success in business, which perpetuates the notion that this is what matters. Particularly in an urban center, the images and photographs we see in our constructed environment exclude representation of everyday heroes who are making a very real difference in people’s lives. Richter’s portrait suggests that serving others matters, and the individuals that help deserve recognition and centering.
Aubrey Rhodes – Lead Security Monitor. He has been with Harbor Light for four years.
Willis White – Harbor Light Advocate. He has been with Harbor Light for two years.