Throughout the s Avedon continued to work forHarpers Bazaarand in he collaborated with James Baldwin on the bookNothing Personal. Having met in New York in , Baldwin and Avedon were friends and collaborators for more than thirty years. For all of the s and s Avedon continued working forVoguemagazine, where he would take some of the most mous portraits of the decades. In he became the first staff photographer forThe New Yorker, and two years later the Whitney Museum brought together fifty years of his work in the retrospective, Richard Avedon Evidence. He was voted one of the ten greatest photographers in the world byPopular Photographymagazine, and in received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London. Today, his pictures continue to bring us a closer, more intimate view of the great and the mous.
Beyond his work in the magazine industry, Avedon has collaborated on a number of books of portraits. In he worked with Truman Capote on a book that documented some of the most mous and important people of the century.Observationsincluded s of Buster Keaton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Pablo Picasso, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mae West. Around this same time he began a series of s of patients in mental hospitals. Replacing the controlled environment of the studio with that of the hospital he was able to recreate the genius of his other portraits with noncelebrities. The brutal reality of the lives of the insane was a bold contrast to his other work. Years later he would again drift from his celebrity portraits with a series of studio s of drifters, carnival workers, and working class Americans.
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As Avedons notoriety grew, so did the opportunities to meet and photograph celebrities from a broad range of disciplines. Avedons ability to present personal views of public figures, who were otherwise distant and inaccessible, was immediately recognized by the public and the celebrities themselves. Many sought out Avedon for their most public s. His artistic brought a sense of sophistication and authority to the portraits. More than anything, it is Avedons ability to set his subjects at ease that helps him create true, intimate, and lasting photographs.
What do Jean Genet, Jimmy Durante, Brigitte Bardot,Georgia OKeeffe, Jacques Cousteau,Andy Warhol, andLena Hornehave in common? They were a few of the many personalities caught on film by photographer Richard Avedon. For more than fifty years, Richard Avedons portraits have filled the s of the countrys finest magazines. His stark ry and brilliant insight into his subjects characters has made him one of the premier American portrait photographers.
Throughout his career Avedon has maintained a unique all his own. Famous for their minimalism, Avedon portraits are often well lit and in front of white backdrops. When printed, the s regularly contain the dark outline of the film in which the was framed. Within the minimalism of his empty studio, Avedons subjects move freely, and it is this movement which brings a sense of spontaneity to the s. Often containing only a portion of the person being photographed, the s seem intimate in their imperfection. While many photographers are interested in either catching a moment in time or preparing a formal , Avedon has found a way to do both.
All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.
Born in New York in , Richard Avedon dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marines photographic section. Upon his return in , he found a job as a photographer in a department store. Within two years he had been found by an art director atHarpers Bazaarand was producing work for them as well asVogue,Look, and a number of other magazines. During the early years, Avedon made his living primarily through work in advertising. His real passion, however, was the portrait and its ability to express the essence of its subject.Richard AvedonPhotographer