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Cory Richards - Photographer - Changemaker Speaker Series
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Cory Richards – Photographer

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An internationally renowned photographer, Cory Richards’ work for National Geographic began with adventure features, exploring the most remote corners of the globe from Antarctica to the Okavango Delta to the Russian Arctic. As a professional climber, his early career was defined by high-risk expeditions capturing stories out of reach to others. On the descent from summiting Gasherbrum II in the Karakoram Himalaya of Pakistan, Cory and his team were swept away by an avalanche in which they were all buried, narrowly escaping with their lives. His documentation of the climb and aftermath of the avalanche became the award-winning documentary, COLD, and the cover story of the 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic. In 2016, Cory and climbing partner Adrian Ballinger climbed Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen, sharing it in real-time through Snapchat and garnering over two billion media impressions. Cory is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and Photographer Fellow. As he shared with the world more recently, Cory is also bi-polar. His memoir, The Color of Everything (Penguin Random House, June 2024), brings his inner landscape, emotional struggles, and a lifetime of exploration and adventure to the page.

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The Color of Everything

Climbing legend, mental health advocate, and global raconteur, Cory Richards has photographed for National Geographic in the most remote corners of the globe. This epic tale of risk and adventure is told by a man who lives madly to avoid going mad. In this quest, Cory has climbed Everest, paddled Botswana’s Okavango, and battled Antarctica’s katabatic winds to make the first ascent of its tallest tower. But, in the midst of a wildly successful adventure photography career, a catastrophic avalanche changed everything, forcing Cory to confront the trauma of his past, grapple with how he defines success, and reexamine the cost of fame and addiction. His courage and resilience in the face of pain offer a hopeful reframing of what it means to be human.