Richard Avedon's Fashion Photography : The Picture Show Somehow, the name Richard Avedon always rings a bell. He's known equally for his eerie portrait of the bee-covered man, and the iconic fashion photo of supermodel Dovima with elephants. The former was part of a documentary project on the American ...

Richard Avedon's Fashion Photography

Somehow, the name Richard Avedon always rings a bell. He's known equally for his eerie portrait of the bee-covered man, and the iconic fashion photo of supermodel Dovima with elephants. The former was part of a documentary project on the American West; the latter was part of a Dior campaign.

Ronald Fischer, beekeeper, Davis, California, May 9, 1981 (left); Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955 (right) By Richard Avedon, courtesy The Richard Avedon Foundation, 2009 hide caption

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By Richard Avedon, courtesy The Richard Avedon Foundation, 2009

Two seemingly contrary endeavors were similar in ways that made Avedon's work some of the most recognizable in the industry. Across the board, his photos were provocative, inventive and memorable.

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Avedon began working as a fashion photographer at Harper's Bazaar in 1944, a mere 21 years old. And as a young photographic revolutionary, he took the medium by storm. New York City's International Center of Photography is paying homage to his legacy in a collection of nearly 175 photographs. The exhibition, called "Avedon Fashion 1944-2000," runs through Sept. 6. The show material sums up the ideas behind this collection, and the man behind the lens:

More so than any other fashion photographer, Avedon reflected the mood of the moment through his work, from postwar optimism to Pop exuberance. He was sensitive and responsive to the new sense of power, determination, and freedom gained by women during the mid twentieth century. His favorite models had character and a collaborative spirit, and he not only encouraged them to express it, but he made them famous for it. ...
Avedon's work at Vogue became more provocative in response to the sexual revolution of the late Sixties and Seventies, but his most memorable and exciting images from this period are of models in motion--sprinting across the page on a headlong rush into the future with the trademark "Avedon blur," where fast shutter speeds captured figures mid-motion. ... Throughout his nearly seven decade career, Avedon's images were infused with an undeniable sense of personal style and a unique take on the importance of fashion in our lives.

To learn more about the photographer, check out the Richard Avedon Foundation Web site. And find out more about the exhibition here.

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