Photographer Cheryl Richards reinvents the legacy of the perfect portrait.
Back in the day, Boston gentlemen bought their tuxedos from Read and White in Wellesley, ladies selected their gowns at Cyreld in Brookline and a proper portrait was photographed by the Bachrach family on Newbury Street. Times are different now. The retail landscape has changed, along with a new name for the perfect picture: Cheryl Richards. Over her more than 20-year career, Richards has photographed business tycoons, politicians and philanthropists—in other words, Boston’s movers and shakers. But her strength is capturing the good side of not only the city’s VIPs, but also anyone who walks into her light-drenched, floor-to-ceiling-windowed, street-level studio in the Park Plaza Hotel. “I love people,” Richards says. “I truly see beauty in every person. When they are in front of my lens, I see something from their soul, something from their heart.” Richards has a passion for black and white, and natural light. She suggests her clients dress in a minimalist style. “My work is a mix of timeless, classic and contemporary. My clients tell me their prints become priceless over time.” Richards’ first work—a photo of a wind-blown horse and a carriage—caught the eye of her photography teacher at Marlborough High School. “She encouraged me to pursue photography. She thought I had something.” Richards listened. She worked relentlessly to perfect her craft, graduating with double honors at the New England School of Photography. She saved money to build her own dark room and shot professionally for the Boston Phoenix, Worcester Telegram and Skinner Auction House until, finally, she opened her eponymous studio. “I started shooting a lot of weddings and realized I loved making people look good.”