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среда, 25 мая 2011 г.

Richard Avedon-"The Eye of Fashion" Master of portraits

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American photographer whose fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.
Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish Russian family.
After briefly attending Columbia University, he started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of the crewmen with the camera given to him by his father as a going-away present.
In 1944, he began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar.
In 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life.
He soon became the chief photographer for Harper's Bazaar.
Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, Avedon showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action.
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.
Avedon’s ability to present personal views of public figures, who were otherwise distant and inaccessible, was immediately recognized by the public and the celebrities themselves.
In 1966, Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to work as a staff photographer for Vogue magazine. He proceeded to become the lead photographer of Vogue and photographed most of the covers from 1973 until Anna Wintour became editor in chief in late 1988.
 When he was working , Avedon was so acutely creative, so sensitive. And he didn't like it if anyone else was around or speaking. There was a mutual vulnerability, and a moment of fusion when he was clicking the shutter. Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject.
In addition to his continuing fashion work, Avedon began to branch out and photographed patients of mental hospitals.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 images of drifters, carnival workers, and working class Americans.
Hollywood presented a fictional account of his early career in the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire as the fashion photographer "Dick Avery."
Avedon supplied some of the still photographs used in the production, including its most famous single image: an intentionally overexposed close-up of Audrey Hepburn's face in which only her famous features - her eyes, her eyebrows, and her mouth - are visible.
Hepburn was Avedon's muse in the 1950s and 1960s, and he went so far as to say
"I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her ultimate portrait."
Throughout the 1960s Avedon continued to work for Harper’s Bazaar and in 1974 he collaborated with James Baldwin on the book Nothing Personal.
Having met in New York in 1943, Baldwin and Avedon were friends and collaborators for more than thirty years.
For all of the 1970s and 1980s Avedon continued working for Vogue magazine, where he would take some of the most famous portraits of the decades.
In 1992 he became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker, and two years later the Whitney Museum brought together fifty years of his work in the retrospective, “Richard Avedon: Evidence”.

In 1944, Avedon married Dorcas Nowell, who later became a model and was known professionally as Doe Avedon. Nowell and Avedon divorced after five years of marriage.

 In 1951, he married Evelyn Franklin, she died on March 13, 2004

On October 1, 2004, Avedon died of a brain hemorrhage in San Antonio, Texas, while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker.



 

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