"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Richard Avedon

This 1978 self-portrait of Richard Avedon (1923-2004) hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
The name of Richard Avedon is synonymous with fashion photography. His imaginative, original camera work revolutionized the industry of fashion and modeling, and his images quickly gained recognition as art. He also created other forms of portraiture, revealing likenesses of celebrated Americans, such as Marilyn Monroe and Janis Joplin, or other people whom he found interesting. Often choosing to create photographs in series, 
Avedon's well-known feature in Rolling Stone (1976), “The Family,” featured unidealized portraits of a group of powerful elites. In 1978, he made this self-portrait for the cover of Newsweek, on the occasion of a major retrospective exhibition of his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Avedon was known for his insightful portrayals, but in this instance, he reveals very little of himself and chooses to look beyond the viewer, as though focusing his camera on another subject entirely. -- NPG
Newsweek, Oct. 16, 1978, featured an article entitled “The Avedon Look:”

In their 2017 book Avedon: Something Personal, Norma Stevens and Steven M. L. Aronson say this about the Newsweek cover-story.
The October 16, 1978, Newsweek cover, a self-portrait Of Dick, trumpeted “The Avedon Look.” (Dick would make the cover of Newsweek again: the September 13, 1993, issue, heralding a “30-page Richard Avedon Photos portfolio.”) At the time Dick was the first photographer ever to appear on the cover of a national magazine, which was the ultimate measure of celebrity in America. "As a Newsweek cover boy, he was suddenly right up there with Mike Nichols and Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins, the people he admired the most —intellectual, artistic achievers— and whose circle he had always longed to be part Of,” says the writer of the story, Charles Michener, “and that cover would continue to be a huge calling card for him.” 

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