Face Capturer: Avedon

Richard-Avedon-exhibition 

 

 

Thanks to the creation of cameras the history and feelings of America have been captured in a way greater than ever before. Instead of relying on passed on legends or written stories that could have been misinterpreted through history the camera gave way to an accurate way of history keeping through imagery. A new art was born with this new creation of emotion and history capturing. This new art expanded peoples creativity and uniqueness in their work. Photographer’s posses a great potential to impact their society and how they view themselves, the world around them and the aspects of history. One photographer that used his camera for the people instead of himself was Richard Avedon. Avedon was born in New York City and grew up interested in fashion and artwork since his mother was an owner of a clothing design business. Avedon took pictures of the Civil Rights movement, including its leaders, and famous actors and actresses. The subjects of his photos were people’s faces. Although he only took black and white pictures, and the fact that taking pictures of regular people doesn’t sound too interesting, his pictures were greatly criticized. The historic pictures he took were the diseases and hardships he saw in west America in the 1940s and the great happenings of the 1960s. Before he died he was a senior photographer for the New Yorker. He’s greatly remembered for his advertisement photos that seduced millions of Americans to a wanted product. He was a pioneer of many photo techniques people use today when capturing the emotions of the American people.

 

Avedon utilizes lighting in his black and white photos. Even during the digital age he stuck with black and white style of photos. At age 12 he used a Kodak Box Brownie to take unique pictures. As he grew and began using professional cameras he started to control his background and allowed it to accent the main piece. When first starting his career he took outdoor photos because of the daylight but switched too studio photography and utilized strobe lighting. He took pictures of people and had a goal of expressing their emotions for the magazine he worked for at the time. A lot of his works that became known were pictures of people using a product in order for advertisement. To make the product and person look good he wanted the model to show 100% emotion to accent the subject of the photo. When taking pictures he wanted to capture an individual’s movement and reaction. He also believed that a persons face was truly their moneymaker when attempting to tell a story to the audience. When not publishing for magazines he would print large photos so that the audience feels so close to the model that it brings an uncomfortable feeling. Taking pictures was Avedon’s lifestyle and a lot of times he would take photos to distract him from any of his negative feelings. Like most photographers he required perfection in his photos so committed to his passionate style of photo taking.

 

Today Avedon is known as a pioneer at what he does. Many magazine photographers attempt to mimic his method of capturing emotion and facial expression. The long life that Avedon lived allowed him to capture history and impact many with the pictures he took. Avedon is also in the same boat as past artist who died. Although artist and their work may stop their past artwork forever lives on. A lot his works are kept in museums or in the data books of the past magazines he worked for. Shortly after his death a private foundation was made in his honor. The foundation serves as an archive for his work and assures he receives his recognition after his death.

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