Harvey Richards began using a camera in the 1950s when he was in his mid-forties. He became a photographer after years of working as a machinist in the San Francisco shipyards, and as a merchant seaman sailing the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. Before moving to San Francisco in 1940, Richards also worked as a union organizer in Philadelphia and Boston. His photography began with a 35-millimeter still camera and a radical worker’s awareness of worldwide issues. He was a movement photographer, offering his films and photos to the social and political movements he supported to help organize their actions.