Richard Avedon's Life and Photography - Essay Example

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1 July 2012. Richard Avedon’s Life and Photography Richard Avedon was born in the New York City in 1923. After getting education up to high school, Richard Avedon left the high school to join the photographic section of Merchant Marine…
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Richard Avedons Life and Photography
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July Richard Avedon’s Life and Photography Richard Avedon was born in the New York City in 1923. After getting education up to high school, Richard Avedon left the high school to join the photographic section of Merchant Marine. He returned in 1944 after which he started working in a department store as a photographer. An art director found Richard Avedon at the Harper’s Bazaar within two years of his return. Richard Avedon did not only work for them but also for several magazines that included Look and Vogue. In the early years of his career, Richard Avedon worked in advertising to make his living, though he was really passionate for making portrait because of its inherent tendency to reflect its subject’s essence. The opportunities to access the celebrities and make their photographs increased for Richard Avedon with the growth of his notoriety. The public in general and the celebrities in particular liked Richard Avedon’s ability to present the otherwise inaccessible public figures in a distinct manner. A lot of celebrities sought out Richard Avedon for their images in the public. There was a sense of authority and sophistication in Richard Avedon’s artistic style. Most importantly, Richard Avedon’s skill of setting the subjects at ease was the fundamental secret of his lasting photographs. “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks” (Avedon cited in Craven). Richard Avedon has carried a distinct style throughout his career which was unique in many ways. One of the most distinguishing features of Richard Avedon’s portraits is their minimalism because of which they can be readily seen in white backdrops. A unique quality of Richard Avedon’s images is that when they are printed, they contain the very film’s dark outline in which they were framed. Richard Avedon’s images freely move in his empty studio’s minimalism. This movement lends the images a lit of spontaneity. The images are often imperfect in that the person being photographed is only partly shown, and this imperfection in turn makes the images magical. Likewise, Richard Avedon’s inspirations are far distant from what inspire the photographers commonly. Once, he said, “Youth never moves me. I seldom see anything very beautiful in a young face. I do, though– in the downward curve of Maugham’s lips, in Isak Dinesen’s hands. So much has been written there, there is so much to be read, if one could only read” (Avedon cited in “Richard Avedon”). Richard Avedon’s photographs catch a particular moment in time and yet present the subject’s formal image. In addition to working in magazines, Richard Avedon has collaborated on numerous portrait books. He prepared a book with Truman Capote in 1959 that contained information about various celebrities and famous people around the world. Images included in Observations included but were not limited to such famous people as Pablo Picasso, Buster Keaton, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mae West, and Gloria Vanderbilt. Richard Avedon also released a range of images of mental patients being treated in the hospitals. This provides evidence of the fact that it was not the selection of celebrities to photograph which made Richard Avedon’s photographs special, but he was able to play his magic by photographing such ordinary people as mental patients. During his career, Richard Avedon has photographed people belonging to different professions, including the carnival workers, drifters, and the American people in general. Richard Avedon “[r]edefined fashion photography as an art form while achieving critical acclaim through his stark black-and-white portraits of the powerful and celebrated” (“Biography for Richard”). During the 1960s, Richard Avedon kept working for the Harper Bazaar. Richard Avedon first met James Baldwin in 1943. It was in 1974 that he wrote the book Nothing Personal with James Baldwin. During the 1970s and 1980s, Richard Avedon worked for the Voguemagazine in which he released many of his extremely popular portraits. Richard Avedon became The New Yorker’s first staff photographer in 1992. In 1994, his work based on five decades was brought together by the Whitney Museum. The Popular Photography magazine voted Richard Avedon amongst the ten greatest photographers in the history of the world. The Royal College of Art gave Richard Avedon an honorary doctorate in 1989. Richard Avedon passed away on 1 October 2004. His work is greatly appreciated by scholars, artists, and photographers all over the world. “No one has given a nation a more wide-ranging, disciplined photographic document of itself” (Lahr cited in “Richard Avedon (1923-2004)”). Works Cited “Biography for Richard Avedon.” 2012. Web. 1 July 2012. . Craven, Jo. “Richard Avedon.” 11 May 2011. Web. 1 July 2012. . “Richard Avedon.” 2010. Web. 1 July 2012. “Richard Avedon (1923-2004).” 2012. Web. 1 July 2012. . Read More
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