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Richard Avedon (American)

Photography

Biography:
Richard Avedon, born in New York City on May 15, 1923, became world famous for his photography, in particular, his images of the fashion world. New York City is the world's hub for the fashion industry, and this culture combined with his family’s involvement in the fashion industry sparked Avedon’s attention and had long lasting impacts on his work. Avedon’s father, Israel Avedon, was the owner of his own Fifth Avenue dress business. Anna Avedon, Richard's mother, was born to a Russian family of dress manufacturers. Both of Richard's parents encouraged their son to take an interest in art and fashion.

Richard was twelve years of age when he first realized his fascination with photography. He began by photographing his sibling, Louise, accentuating her beauty with his small Kodak Brownie camera. After completing his education at Columbia University, New York City magnetized Richard's dreams of becoming an avid, professional photographer.

In his early career, Richard Avedon was employed as an advertising photographer, which quickly led to his work with Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and Life. It was his artistic talent for capturing celebrity subjects as if their photos were taken while in motion that set Richard Avedon apart from his competitors. Most notable of the celebrities who chose Avedon to create magazine cover photos were the Beatles, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Marilyn Monroe, and pop artist Andy Warhol.

Avedon believed that simplicity created the greatest depth for the subjects of his portraits. Using the same artistic minimalism of artists like Dali and Warhol, Avedon captured his subjects in an aura of softly evoked emotion. In addition, he also created prints that show remarkable talent for drawing from his well of belief in simplicity. This became the style for which Richard Avedon is so well known and created his signature photography.

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