A climber and visual storyteller, Cory Richards is on the Eddie Bauer athletic team and a National Geographic photography fellow—a designation reserved for only a handful of people described as those whose work “transcends the art of photography, taking them on journeys to the world’s most remote places and often placing them in great danger —in order to tell the stories that need to be told.”
A high school dropout without a steady home by the age of 14, Richards found an outlet in extreme adventure and developed his voice through photography. Richards was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2012 for being the first American to summit an 8,000meter peak in winter. The film he coproduced about this climb, Cold, would go on to win the grand prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 2012.
Richards aims to capture the spirit of adventure and the complex relationship we have with nature. His work has taken him to the extremes of our planet—from Franz Josef Land for a firsthand look at climate change and its immediate effects, to Antarctica, where he and a team of explorers would make first ascents on some of Antarctica's majestic peaks.He turns his lens on ancient mysteries and science, as well as the ongoing struggle between cultural traditions and a growing, warming planet.
Always seeking the next challenge, in 2016 Richards and climbing partner, Adrian Ballinger, became the first people to document their entire eight week Mount Everest expedition via Snapchat with the handle #EverestNoFilter. Richards summited Everest without supplemental oxygen – a feat fewer than 200 people have achieved.
Richards’s client list includes National Geographic, Outside, the New York Times, Red Bull, and Fossil. His films have won awards at nearly every major adventure film festival in the world.
“It doesn’t matter if I can’t feel my fingers, it doesn’t matter how my face stings and literally feels like it’s getting sandblasted. What matters is that somebody else can feel that by looking at a picture,” he’s said.
- In 2016, Richards and his climbing partner became the first people to document their entire Everest climb live on social media with #EverestNoFilter.
- Curator of the National Geographic book and exhibit @NatGeo.
- 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.