Michael Richard (1948 – August 28, 2006) was a professional rock musician and amateur photographer. In 2002, surgery to remove a malignant tumor behind his right eye left him legally blind, and he began taking abstract photos of urban scenes. Those images have been exhibited at galleries in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Following surgery to remove the tumor behind his eye, Richard could see only gauzy shapes. In a 2003 interview, he said they were "like the most extreme soft-focus photos you can imagine."
Richard had been an amateur photographer prior to the surgery but expected to have to give up that hobby after losing most of his vision. While learning to use a cane at the Braille Institute of Los Angeles, Richard heard about a photography class at the institute. The class, taught by a professional magazine photographer, offered the visually impaired tips on the model of camera to use and suggestions on film developing.
Richard obtained a manual camera and used a magnifying glass to adjust the settings. His wife, Patrice Hughes, drove him to locations around Los Angeles. Richard used black-and-white film to transform buildings and street vistas into abstract forms.
Richard developed the prints himself and began exhibiting the photos at optometry schools, centers for the blind, and art museums.