words + photos + life

Joseph W Richardson




{Social Media}





{Journal Entries}


I give you: a keystone, pictured top center of the stone arch. A keystone locks the rest of the arch stones in place, allowing the structure to shoulder weight. When properly engineered, arches like this can stand strong for centuries, free of mortar or metal. I took this photo in early morning hours near the Mississippi River. I’d been chasing a full moon and lost it to daylight and  river mist. The ruins were a more accommodating target. As I understand it, about 1852, a German immigrant named Louis Stiritz settled along the Mississippi River, north of Alton, Ill. Stiritz brought grapevines from the Rhine Valley, terraced the hills above the river, and established a local vineyard. In this photo, you see the ruins of a stone wine cellar constructed by... read more


Writers call it the telling detail. It’s a small, seemingly insignificant event that offers significant insight into character. In literature, telling details shape expectation, inform plot, foreshadow the story to come. The moment our eyes hit the words, we recognize their weight, know they mean more than what they say. Take note, we tell ourselves. Save this for later. It’s important. As parents, we look for moments like these in the lives of our children. But they can be hard to spot. They’re scattered across parks and playgrounds, strewn about backyards and living room floors, hidden among the lesser minutes of weeks and months and years. Usually, it isn’t until we look back, in the dark calm of retrospect and reflection, that we recognize glowing bits of interest and aptitude that form constellations of character, personality, intent. But every now and then life blesses us with a shooting star—an event that radiates light enough to catch our eye as it unfolds. If we’re paying attention, we bookmark the moment in memory. * Family vacation 2006. My wife, daughter, son and I were whitewater rafting on the New River in West Virginia. Our group had taken two rafts down the rapids to smooth water and a flat bank, where we stopped for lunch. As we ate, our guide pointed out a finger of rock that jutted from the upper bank and pointed high over the river. He smiled, told us the path up the rock was smooth and the water plenty deep, and invited us to jump. From below, the drop didn’t look bad. Eight people from the group picked... read more

Curriculum Vitae

{Rap Sheet}
Joe Richardson

Joe Richardson


Vice President of Communications
Southwestern Electric Cooperative
1998-2008; 2013 – Present
I write, edit, and shoot photos for a monthly magazine that highlights company programs and accomplishments, as well as the Illinois rural lifestyle.

Freelance Contractor
June 2008 – Present
My photos have appeared in advertising, brochures, travel guides, magazines and on postcards. I’ve done extensive contract work for the National Road Association of Illinois, which entailed shooting photos of people, places and events in National Road communities across the state.

Interpretive Project Developer
Illinois National Road Assn.
June 2012 – Present
I researched, wrote narrative, shot photos and collected images for a series of cultural heritage interpretive panels that will stand in 21 communities along 160 miles of Southern Illinois highway.

Associate Editor
Illinois Country Living
1997 – 1998
I wrote, edited, and shot photos for a monthly consumer magazine with a circulation of 150,000. I edited consumer publications distributed by approximately 30 utilities, wrote corporate report content, CEO speeches, and wrote and photographed corporate events for press releases distributed throughout Illinois.