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Richard Avedon
Richard Avedon, self-portrait, Provo, Utah, August 20, 1980
Richard Avedon
Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon

Country: United States
Birth: 1923 | Death: 2004

Richard Avedon (1923-2004) was born and lived in New York City. His interest in photography began at an early age, and he joined the Young Men's Hebrew Association (YMHA) camera club when he was twelve years old. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he co-edited the school's literary magazine, The Magpie, with James Baldwin. He was named Poet Laureate of New York City High Schools in 1941.

Avedon joined the armed forces in 1942 during World War II, serving as Photographer's Mate Second Class in the U.S. Merchant Marine. As he described it, "My job was to do identity photographs. I must have taken pictures of one hundred thousand faces before it occurred to me I was becoming a photographer."

After two years of service, he left the Merchant Marine to work as a professional photographer, initially creating fashion images and studying with art director Alexey Brodovitch at the Design Laboratory of the New School for Social Research.

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, employing the endless resourcefulness and inventiveness that became a hallmark of his art. Under Brodovitch's tutelage, he quickly became the lead photographer for Harper's Bazaar.

From the beginning of his career, Avedon made formal portraits for publication in Theatre Arts, Life, Look, and Harper's Bazaar magazines, among many others. He was fascinated by photography's capacity for suggesting the personality and evoking the life of his subjects. He registered poses, attitudes, hairstyles, clothing and accessories as vital, revelatory elements of an image. He had complete confidence in the two-dimensional nature of photography, the rules of which he bent to his stylistic and narrative purposes. As he wryly said, "My photographs don't go below the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues."

After guest-editing the April 1965 issue of Harper's Bazaar, 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 helped redefine the aesthetic of the magazine. During this period, his fashion photography appeared almost exclusively in the French magazine Égoïste.

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. These campaigns gave Avedon the freedom to pursue major projects in which he explored his cultural, political, and personal passions. He is known for his extended portraiture of the American Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war and a celebrated cycle of photographs of his father, Jacob Israel Avedon. In 1976, for Rolling Stone magazine, he produced "The Family," a collective portrait of the American power elite at the time of the country's bicentennial election. From 1979 to 1985, he worked extensively on a commission from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, ultimately producing the show and book In the American West.

Avedon's first museum retrospective was held at the Smithsonian Institution in 1962. Many major museum shows followed, including two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978 and 2002), the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1970), the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (1985), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1994). His first book of photographs, Observations, with an essay by Truman Capote, was published in 1959. He continued to publish books of his works throughout his life, including Nothing Personal in 1964 (with an essay by James Baldwin), Portraits 1947-1977 (1978, with an essay by Harold Rosenberg), An Autobiography (1993), Evidence 1944-1994 (1994, with essays by Jane Livingston and Adam Gopnik), and The Sixties (1999, with interviews by Doon Arbus).

After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while on assignment for The New Yorker, Richard Avedon died in San Antonio, Texas on October 1, 2004. He established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime.

Source: The Richard Avedon Foundation

 

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George Dambier
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Born in 1925, Georges Dambier first went to work for painter Paul Colin, where he learnt drawing and graphic design. Then he landed a job as assistant to Willy Rizzo, a famous portraitist photographer (Harcourt’s Studio, Paris Match). There, he discovered photography and was taught the fundamentals of this art, especially lighting. Georges Dambier was 20 when the Second World War came to an end, a moment when the social scene in Paris suddenly took off. Nightlife, subdued during the Occupation, exploded. Le Bœuf sur le toit, Le Lido, la Rose Rouge, Le Lorientais, Le Tabou : he frequented cabarets and jazz clubs in Saint Germain des Prés, where famous artists and celebrities organised glittering parties and balls. One night, he managed to take pictures of Rita Hayworth who had come incognito to a famous night club, Le Jimmy’s. He sold the exclusive images to France Dimanche, a daily magazine recently created by Max Corre and Pierre Lazareff, and won himself a job on the magazine as a photo-reporter. In his new post, he was sent to all over the world to cover current events. However, with his predilection for graphic design and aesthetics, his liking for refined mise-en-scene, and at the urging of many friends, such as Capucine, Suzy Parker, Jacques Fath, Bettina, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Barthet, he was lead towards fashion photography. As Georges Dambier built and perfected his craft, he was hired by Helene Lazareff, director of ELLE, the fashion magazine. She encouraged him and gave him his first assignment as a fashion photographer. Georges Dambier did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion pictures, with models standing emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, he showed models smiling, laughing and often in action. His models were surrounded by local people in a market place in Marrakech, or in a village in Corsica, or – and above all – in his beloved Paris. Most of all, it was Georges Dambier’s ability to put his subjects at ease (many of them were friends) that helped him create true, intimate and lasting images. With his delicate style, and refined technique, his work revealed a reality of great elegance. As his career blossomed, he became widely known for his ability to capture the essence of feminine chic and glamour in his images. In 1954, Robert Capa asked him to lead a fashion department at the Magnum Photo Agency. Unfortunately, Capa died a few weeks later, while covering the Indochinese war. Meanwhile, Georges Dambier set up his own studio in Paris, Rue de la Bienfaisance. As a freelance photographer, he continued to contribute to ELLE and other magazines: Vogue, Le Jardin des Modes, Marie France…He also collaborated with Françoise Giroud and Christine Collanges at L’Express. Big advertising campaigns (Synergie, Havas, Publicis), and contracts for many brands such as L’Oréal, Carita, Jacques Dessange followed. In addition to his work in advertising, Georges Dambier did portraits for record covers and posters for his great friend, the producer Eddie Barclay and Jacques Canetti. As his reputation grew, so did opportunities to meet and photograph celebrities from different worlds. He captured the faces of the most notable artists of the 60’s: Sacha Distel, Zizi Jeanmaire, Dalida, Jeanne Moreau… His impressive client list included celebrities (Cerdan, Cocteau…), singers (Johnny Hallyday, Sylvie Vartan, Charles Aznavour...), actors (Alain Delon, Françoise Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve…) and many others. In 1964, Georges Dambier launched his own project: a magazine for young people, dedicated to culture and fashion: TWENTY. He hired young artists and photographers: Just Jaeckin, Jean Paul Goude, Philippe Labro, Copi, Bosc and many others who would later become famous in their own right. Twenty lasted two eventful years. In 1976, he created the magazine VSD with his old friend Maurice Siegel. Georges Dambier led the artistic side of the magazine and headed the photographic section. VSD was an instant success. In the late eighties, Georges Dambier retired to a quieter life in the countryside. He died in May, 2011. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
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