Rich was a talented amateur who matured into a successful professional photographer. In 1901 he opened a photography studio in downtown Philadelphia, but little of his commercial work survives. One of his major commissions was to accompany a 1908 expedition to Yellowstone, sponsored by Rodman Wanamaker, to photograph the landscape and Native American life. In Philadelphia he took photographs in the city’s parks and public areas. Fairmount Park, the largest park in the city, became the definitive Philadelphia view and a favorite subject for photographers, including Rich. Winter was his favorite season to photograph. He used a variety of equipment, from small hand cameras to large studio view cameras, developing and printing his own work. His landscapes were usually made with a portable camera and medium-size negatives. Most of Rich’s surviving prints are unique, printed to his exacting standards of quality.
Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)