Innovative photographer Richard Avedon
Photography lovers know the name of Richard Avedon as an innovative photographer who was endowed with great talent, the founder of a new genre of photography. He was able to feel his model and frame very subtly. His portrait is not just a picture printed on a sheet of paper, it is the world inside of man. Richard Avedon discovered black-and-white photographs, he was able to accurately convey the feelings, emotions, character and inner beauty with just two colors. Truly magical sensuality and sincerity of his portraits is fascinating and attracts the eye, photographed by him people in the portraits look even more realistic than sometimes in life. The work of Richard Avedon is indisputable classics and top photography craftsmanship.
Great photographer Richard Avedon was born in New York, May 15, 1923 in a family of immigrants from Russia. His father owned a very successful department store on Fifth Avenue and Avedon was predicted the same future, but fortunately this did not happen. And at the age of ten, the young photographer took his first portrait of the composer Rachmaninoff, who lived in the neighborhood. In the future, “Russian theme” continued with the portraits of Brodsky, Stravinsky, Gorovets and others. The first woman to become a model of Richard Avedon was his younger sister, according to the photographer just after the shooting, he “ever got into power of feminine charm.”
Additionally to photography, young Richard Avedon was attracted by literature and poetry. In the school magazine published his stories, and in 1941 Richard Avedon became the winner of poetry contest. After high school, Avedon comes to Columbia University and studied poetry, but love for photography wins. The first work of the future master became as an assistant photographer in the photo department of the Office of the U.S. merchant fleet. It was the best Avedon’s school photographing recruits and co-workers, he thoroughly studied the facial expressions, the structure of the face and the basic techniques of portrait photography. After a few years, the young photographer Richard Avedon collects his first portfolio and obtains professional education in New York, “Design Lab” at the School of Social Studies. Fateful in Avedon’s career was meeting with the famous designer and editor of the popular fashion magazine «Harpers Bazaar» Alexey Brodovitch, after which, in 1946, his pictures became known and famous.
Portraits and photographs taken by Richard Avedon made a splash in the community. The works of the young photographer were not cold and empty as most of the shooting models, and different liveliness, sparkle with energy and joy. Richard Avedon skillfully combined naturalism and the grotesque, resulting in a stunning effect, which was appreciated by the acknowledged masters, and the photographer got a place in the «Harpers Bazaar».
Richard Avedon cooperated with «Harpers Bazaar» and «Vogue» up to 1966. He worked with such names of fashion industry, as Ben Davidson, Irving Penn, Hiro, and many others. Together, they created image of fashion photography, and they set the trend in modern glossy magazines. Without a doubt it is Avedon’s new genre of fashion photography made faceless dolls look real and “alive.” One of the most famous photographs of this genre is a picture of the famous model in a dress by Yves Saint Laurent ”Dovima with the Elephants” taken by Avedon at the Cirque d’hiver, Paris, in August 1955. The basic principle of Avedon was mutual respect and understanding between the photographer and the model, the only way it was possible to achieve complete openness in the picture. In the fifties, Avedon divorced his first wife, Dorcas Norvel and married Evelyn Franklin, who gave him a son, George. Also during this period, he leaves work in the fashion industry. For some time he worked as an editor of the journal “Theater Arts”, and 1956 tried a new role of photo consultant in the film «Funny Face», in which the main role was performed by the brilliant Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire .
In 1959 he released an album called «Observations», which became a kind of summing up his creative period, a year earlier, Richard Avedon was added to the list of “Ten Great photographers in the world,” by the magazine “Popular Photography”. The next decade heyday of rock music, the Beatles, hippies and the Vietnam War had a huge impact on the style of Richard Avedon, he not only took pictures of stars and celebrities, but also the military, yard boys and just ordinary people. It was Richard Avedon who opened Twiggy to the world. Twiggy has long shone on the pages of «Vogue» and has been an icon of beauty. The best works are included in the album “Avedon: The Sixties”, which closely aligned pictures of anti-war activists, journalists and photographs of nameless soldiers. So Avedon wanted to express his attitude toward the war in Vietnam.
Prior to 1990, Avedon works as a «Vogue» photographer. For him, posed the most rich and famous: models, actors, musicians, writers, artists. The master publishes collections of photos, organizes exhibitions and travels around the country. Since 1992, Richard Avedon works in the weekly magazine «The New Yorker». In addition to that, he worked for his projects, such as “For Democracy”. In ’82 the great master dies of a brain hemorrhage. Richard Avedon left a huge cultural heritage that has enriched the treasury of world photography.
Richard Avedon, (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004), US photographer. After being a photographer in the Marines, Avedon worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Inspired by the example of *Munkacsi, he specialized in capturing movement in still pictures of fashion, theater, and dance. His later, gloomy portraiture included controversial studies of his father dying of cancer.
Innovative photographer Richard Avedon
Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Vol. 1