While fashion models had previously posed stiffly, with little expression, Richard Avedon’s models smiled, frowned, patted elephants’ trunks, you name it.
Photo by Martha Holmes/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Capturing Souls with a Click
Richard Avedon is born in New York City
The creative eye of Richard Avedon shaped high fashion and documentary photography as few other professional photographers have.
Throughout his 50-year career, Avedon’s long affiliations with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue magazines meant fashion photography would never be the same. He specialized in portraits of celebrities from the arts and public service to strangers on the street—each one intimate, revealing a moment captured in time. Many of these portraits feature subjects looking squarely at the camera with a plain background, resulting in shots filled with quiet, simple dignity. Interestingly, Avedon applied artistic principles of composition and juxtaposition to his pictures much as a painter would have.
Avedon was also present at key historical moments in the U.S. and abroad. He documented events during both the civil rights movement and anti-war movements in the 1960s and 1970s, and took many shots of the fall of the Berlin Wall.