To be an artist, to be a photographer, you have to nurture the things that most people discard.  You have to keep them alive in order to tap them.  It’s been important to me my whole life not to let go of any of the things that most people would throw in the ashcan.  I have to be in touch with my fergility, with the man in me and the woman in me, the child in me, the grandfather in me.  All these things have to be alive.

Richard Avedon

“Images are fast replacing words as our primary language.  They define our ideas of beauty, truth, and history.  In our age the photographer, not the philosopher, is king.  By the 1950’s Richard Avedon emerged as fashion photography’s brightest star.  Since then he has proved endlessly potent, tacking unpredictably from commerce to art, and back again, dominating one, challenging the other, and changing the rules of both.  Today his images are everywhere.  Some have become iconic in our culture.  Avedon, along with Irving Penn, has forever altered the terms of photographic portraiture, Penn gently and intently, Avedon radically and fiercely.  He has changed the way we think about celebrity, showing its glitter and also its terrors.  Few people refuse the validation of his portrait.  It’s the final recognition.  And like others before him, Avedon has sought out the people we would forget.  He went into the streets of Italy and Harlem, into mental institutions.  He went to Vietnam, to the civil rights battles in the south, always following his political concerns.  But he felt he couldn’t compete with the great documentary photographers, Helen Levitt, Lucette Maudel (sp?), Walker Evans.  The found image couldn’t satisfy him.  He wanted to be a creator, not an observer.  He has had major exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world.  He has become one of the richest, most celebrated photographers ever, and one of the most controversial.”  (From a Documentary called Darkness and Light)

He changed the whole mood of fashion photography.  Before him, every model posed, she became a statue.  Whereas Dick, as I said, he participated, he was in the picture, and the way he moved with his Rorflex was as though he was dancing with you, and you would react, of course.

– Dorian Leigh Parker

One of the most powerful parts about movement is it’s a constant surprise.  You don’t know what the fabric is going to do, what the hair is going to do.  You can control it to a certain degree, and then there’s a surprise.  Also, you have to remember that when I photograph movement I have to anticipate that by the time it’s happened, it’s too late to photograph it.  So there’s this terrific interchange between the moving figure and myself that is like dancing.

– Richard Avedon

Fashion is one of the richest expressions of human desires, ambitions, needs, frailty, insecurity, security.  What we wear is an indication of our sense of ourselves.  It’s a gift!  Fashion has been in all our history.

– Richard Avedon

In my personal opinion, what’s driving it is this deeper, far more profound genuine interest in the people he’s seeking out, in the stories they have to tell, and in the life experience they have.  I mean he’s interested.  He’s omnivorous in the sense that the world fascinates him.

– John Avedon

My photography teacher showed me this documentary, Darkness and Light, in class.  I was mesmerized.  I admire his ability with people, his talent to sit with a camera in front of a subject and make them feel comfortable enough to show every truth within their face.  Part one is here…  I think you’ll be so hooked that you scoot right over to YouTube and watch the rest.

Advertisements