One of the most famous fashion photographers of all time is the American photographer Richard Avedon. His images have appeared in magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Life. 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.
He became the lead photographer of Vogue and photographed most of the covers from 1973, untill Anna Wintour became editor in chief in late 1988. In addition to his continuing fashion work, Avedon also photographed patients of mental hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the Vietnam War, and later the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject. His portraits are easily distinguished by their minimalist style, where the person is looking squarely in the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. Avedon would at times provoke reactions from his portrait subjects by guiding them into uncomfortable areas of discussion or asking them psychologically probing questions. Through these means he would produce images revealing aspects of his subject’s character and personality that were not typically captured by others.
Sunny Harnett, 1954
Dovima in Dior, 1955
Suzy Parker in Dior, 1956
Marilyn Monroe, 1957
Liz Taylor, 1964
Lauren Hutton, 1968
I think it’s Versace……
Nadja Auermann (my favorite model ever), from a serie called ‘In memory of the late mr. & mrs. Comfort’, 1995
Milla Jovovich in Yohji Yamamoto, 1998
Malgosia Bela and Gisele Bündschen in Dior, 2000
The Foam Photography museum in Amsterdam has an excellent exhibition of his work. Go check it out!
Richard Avedon Photographs 1946-2004, Foam Photography Museum, Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam, from 13 februari 2009 – 13 may 2009, open daily 10.00-18.00 h, thursday/friday 10.00-21.00 h, entrance €7,50