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Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon

Born in NYC in the early 20s, Richard Avedon was an American fashion and portrait photographer. The New York Times said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”.

His interest in photography began at an early age – he was twelve years old when he joined the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) camera club. In 1942, after his studies, Avedon joined the armed forces during World War II, serving as Photographer’s Mate Second Class in the U.S. Merchant Marine for two years. He left the Merchant Marine to work as a professional photographer.

At the age of twenty-two, Avedon began working as a freelance photographer, primarily for Harper’s Bazaar. Initially denied the use of a studio by the magazine, he photographed models and fashions on the streets, in nightclubs, at the circus, on the beach and at other uncommon locations. He quickly became the lead photographer for Harper’s Bazaar.

In 1965, Avedon quit the magazine after facing a storm of criticism over his collaboration with models of color. He joined Vogue, where he worked for more than twenty years. In 1992, Avedon became the first staff photographer at The New Yorker, where his portraiture redefined the aesthetic of the magazine. During this period, his fashion photography appeared almost exclusively in the French magazine Egoïste.

Throughout, Avedon ran a successful commercial studio, and is widely credited with erasing the line between “art” and “commercial” photography. His brand-defining work and long associations with Calvin Klein, Revlon, Versace, and dozens of other companies resulted in some of the best-known advertising campaigns in American history.

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