|Product Details |
Harry N. Abrams, Inc
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Wealthy or poor, young or old, famous or infamous, all of Avedon's subjects are photographed with the same stark, minimalist touch. This new collection spans five decades of the late photographer's work and focuses on the portraiture king's pictures of women. Beginning with a simple, joyous image of the Italian actress Anna Magnani in all her hearty, make-free glory and ending with a casual, breezy shot of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, the loosely chronological succession of Avedon's primarily black-and-white shots demonstrates that, while the idea of photographing women is nothing new, the way the former Harper's Bazaar and Vogue contributor approached his subjects was. As explained in art historian Hollander's ending essay, Avedon was the first photographer to break down the barriers between high, "serious," photography and low, "non-serious," photography by applying his intimate, shadowy style to all of his subjects, regardless of their social background. It is a shift that can be seen in the stirring juxtapositions of toothless street performer Zazi with the model Dorian Leigh, and the full-bodied field marshal Gloria Gonzales with the petite Rose Kennedy. A treat for devotees and newcomers alike, the collection showcases both Avedon's fashion work and celebrity portraits, including such fantastic shots as a bejeweled and be-gowned Elton John in a mid-punch stance and a sexy Geoffrey Beene model posing with a skeleton. (Nov.)
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*Starred Review* For Richard Avedon, portraits were works of art that contemplate the human form and create windows into the soul. As a radical, then preeminent fashion photographer, he brilliantly captured the complex interplay between his subject's spirit and the fantasy clothes engender. Two years before his sudden death in October 2004, Avedon sorted through 60 years' worth of photographs to select 125 images, some never before published, for this lavish and breathtaking volume. Critic Hollander provides astute commentary, explicating Avedon's passion for photographing women and his profound inquiry into the symbiotic powers of seeing and being seen. Presented in chronological order, Avedon's electrifying photographs also tell the story of how twentieth-century fashion blossomed in sync with film and rock and roll. The fashion models--including such era-defining divas as the classically beautiful Suzy Parker, the otherworldly Penelope Tree, leggy Veruschka, and compact Kate Moss--are no mannequins but, rather, actors collaborating joyfully with the camera. Avedon also photographed such women artists as Katharine Hepburn, Marianne Moore, Tina Turner, and Patti Smith as well as working-class women, establishing an empathic and mutually empowering rapport with each and adding immeasurably to the world's beauty and humanity. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Among the significant projects of the last year of his life, Richard Avedon (1923-2004) completed a book of his photographs of women. Always transcending categorization-he was both a fashion photographer and known as a "poet of portraiture"-Avedon was interested in seeing how elemental facts of modern life and human existence were reflected in his work. And what could be more elemental than women, who have mesmerized artists across the centuries?
Looking at his work in this way, Avedon was able to create an unparalleled view of women in his time, a tumultuous half century of rapidly changing social facts, cultural ideals, popular styles, and high fashion. As an artist, Avedon was deeply responsive to nuances of expression, gesture, and comportment, and his photographs unfailingly opened a window to the interior lives of his subjects. These ranged from celebrities (Marilyn Monroe), artists (Marguerite Duras, June Leaf), and high-fashion models (Suzy Parker, Dovima) to anonymous people that simply drew his attention. Like the best of art and literature, they evoke rich lives and complex experiences.
An incisive essay by art historian Anne Hollander offers an overview of a half century of Avedon's images of women.
About the Author
Richard Avedon was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. His portrait work comprises an authoritative record of our era. His many books have set a standard for photographic publishing. As a staff photographer for Harper's Bazaar and later for Vogue, Avedon redefined the fashion photograph. In 1992 he became the first staff photographer in the history of The New Yorker. Anne Hollander is a New York-based art historian and critic, and former president of the Pen American center. She is the author of several books, including Feeding the Eye, Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress, and Seeing Through Clothes.