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Richard Avedon was born in New York City. After briefly attending Columbia University, Richard Avedon started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of the crewmen with his Rolleiflex camera which was given to him by his father as a going-away present. In 1944, Richard Avedon 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. Richard Avedon 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.

In 1966, Richard Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to work as a staff photographer for Vogue magazine. In addition to his continuing fashion work, Richard Avedon began to branch out and photographed mental patients, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the Vietnam War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

However, Richard Avedon had always been interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject. As his reputation as a photographer became widely known, he brought in many famous faces to his studio and photographed them with a large-format 8x10 view camera. His portraits are easily distinguished by their minimalistic style, where the person is looking squarely in the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. His large-format portrait work of drifters, miners, cowboys and alike from the western United States became a best-selling book and traveling exhibit entitled In the American West. This was a five-year project Richard Avedon embarked on in the early 1980s, which took a closer look at the effects of the aging of the skin in such occupations as those listed above.

Richard Avedon became the first-ever staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992. He has won many awards for his photography, including the International Center of Photography Master of Photography Award in 1993 and the Royal Photographic Society 150th Anniversary Medal in 2003.

On September 25, 2004, he suffered a brain hemorrhage while shooting in San Antonio, Texas for an assignment for The New Yorker. He died in San Antonio on October 1

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 - October 1, 2004) was an American photographer. Avedon was able to take his early success in fashion photography and expand it into the realm of fine art.


Books by Richard Avedon 
Observations, 1959: A collaborative book between Avedon and Truman Capote containing portraits of many famous people of the twentieth century, including Picasso, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Mae West. 
Nothing Personal, 1964: A collaborative book with James Baldwin. 
Alice in Wonderland, 1973 
Portraits, 1976 
Portraits 1947-1977, 1978 
In the American West, 1985 
An Autobiography, 1993: Contains 50 years of Richard Avedon's photographs, 284 images of mental patients to famous celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol, and even pictures of his own mother and father. The pictures are not arranged chronologically. The order of the pictures is used to tell a life story. 
Evidence, 1994: Over 600 images that encompasses Richard Avedon's fashion photographs, portraiture, journalistic shots, sketches, snapshots, and contact sheets. The book, however, though containing many images, focuses more on the essays and text about Avedon than being fully based on visuals. 
The Sixties, 1999: Contains images of many famous figures such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Twiggy, and rock bands like Aerosmith without any clothes on. 
Made in France, 2001: Richard Avedon's fashion portraiture from the 1950s. The book is expensive due to the images being printed on tritone plates. 
Richard Avedon Portraits, 2002: 50 black and white images of celebrities and subjects from his In The American West project. 

Famous photographs by Richard Avedon
Dovima with Elephants,1955 
Marilyn Monroe, actress, 1957 
Ronald Fischer, beekeeper, 1981 
Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the United States, 1964




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