Richard Avedon

This is the cover of the book I mentioned in this post. Its listed on Ebay for $1100.00!

I think Richard Avedon has to be my favorite fashion photographer. I first discovered his work in either my freshman or sophomore year of college. I was doing a report for a class (I don’t even remember what class) and I checked out a book of his work from the library. I was immediately enraptured with his photography. The book was all fashion photographs from early in his career shot in paris all in black and white in the early 1950’s. Every shot was gorgeous every shot pulled me in and every shot made me want to take pictures just like him. Those photographs in that 20 page hard cover book were what made me decide to study fashion photography in my time at Parsons. I even remember thinking that the library fine would be worth paying to keep the book! The way he used the light, the elegance of the models, the way he made you as the viewer feel like you had just stumbled into a moment in time all of it was absolute perfection. Those photographs, although they were fashion and published in magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, made me feel like I was looking at a part of a larger story, a small snippet in time, only a moment in the subject’s day. Towards the end of his career he did a set of portraits that also inspired my photography in a completely different way. The series was called the American West. What Avedon did was travel with his 4×5 camera and a white backdrop across the American west photographing drifters, truck drivers, farm workers, coal miners etc. They were all photographed in black and white on a white backdrop so it forced you as the viewer to really connect with the subject which is uncomfortable to do in some instances. If you check out the photo of the bee keeper covered in bees you will understand what I mean! The photos are so stark and so beautiful in the way they bring these people to life. I was lucky to be able to see the photos in person at an exhibit at the Met when I was in college. Some of the photos are huge, taking up a whole wall. It was amazing to see them that way. I’ve included some photos below just to wet your appetite and I posted a link to his work so you can experience him for yourself. The link takes you to his archive page. Make sure you look at fashion images from 1947-1957 and his American West portfolio to see the work mentioned here. You won’t be disappointed!


Richard Avedon self portrait


Sunny Harnett, evening dress by Gres, Casino, Le Touquest, Paris, August 1954


Homage to Munkacsi. Carmen, coat by Cardin, Place Francois-Premier, Paris, August 1957


Marilyn Monroe, actor, New York, May 6, 1957


Richard Avedon fashion













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