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Sid Avery
Sid Avery

Sid Avery

Country: United States
Birth: 1918 | Death: 2002

Sid Avery (October 12, 1918 – July 1, 2002) was an American photographer and director who was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn as showcased in his book Hollywood at Home.

Avery was born in Akron, Ohio on October 12, 1918. He was only nine months old when they decided to move out to Los Angeles, California, which is where he grew up. Sid Avery received his high school education at the institution of Roosevelt High School. He discovered his love and talent of photography when he was young due to the fact that he was able to work with his uncle, Max Tatch, who was a landscape and architectural photographer. His uncle was able to teach him the skills required to use cameras, film, and darkrooms. After he graduated from high school, Sid Avery worked in a camera store on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood where he further gained love and inspiration for photography. While working in the shop, he had opportunities to meet many famous photographers. This also encouraged him to take more photography classes. He also gained the experience of being a darkroom assistant.

He served in the Army in World War II. When he returned from the war, he began his work of photographing celebrities. Sid Avery eventually became one of the top advertising photographers in Los Angeles. He was also a director of television commercials. Sid Avery was married to Diana Avery. Together they had three children named Sandra Guttman, Marc Avery, and Ron Avery. Sid Avery also had three grandchildren.

He founded the Hollywood Photographer's Archive (HPA) and which is known today as mptvimages.com in an effort to preserve the work of the early Hollywood photographers. Sid Avery's work was commonly featured in publications such as Life, Look, Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post. There is a collection of his work, Hollywood at Home: A Family Album 1950-1965, that was published by Crown in the year of 1990. He is most famous for his work of photography that captured the home life of famous celebrities at the time. He captured the celebrities in their own element aside from the glamour of fame. Sid Avery died at the age of 83 on July 1, 2002, in Los Angeles, California.

Source: Wikipedia


One of six children, Sid Avery was born in 1918 in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles at a young age. Avery repaired a broken brownie box camera that he had found, and with the tutelage of his architectural photographer uncle he began to learn the basics of the photographic profession. By the time he entered Roosevelt High School, Avery’s talent in photography won him numerous prizes and after graduation he landed a job at Morgan’s Camera store on Sunset Boulevard.

Avery was pursuing various odd photography jobs when World War II intervened. He was drafted into the Army, assigned to the Signal Corps, and selected to receive six months of training at Life magazine in New York before being sent overseas. Avery was stationed in London and was placed in charge of the Army Pictorial Service Laboratory, where all the stills and combat footage that came out of the European Theater of Operations passed through his hands. This included the detailed, highly classified photomontages of the French coast which were produced for the Normandy invasion. In order to handle this special material, Avery was granted an immediate commission by General Eisenhower himself.

Photojournalism publications proliferated during the post-war years, and interest in film stars and their private lives grew to an all time high. During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Avery photographed screen legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Clark Gable, James Dean, Marlon Brando, James Stewart, and Alfred Hitchcock. His photographic essays appeared in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post, Look, Photoplay, Collier’s, Reader’s Digest, and many others.

Avery’s characteristically low key, unobtrusive manner struck a sympathetic chord with reclusive and difficult personalities like Humphrey Bogart, who generally refused to be photographed. Bogart would eventually allow himself to be photographed by Avery with his pregnant wife Lauren Bacall and his son Stephen at their home.

Sid Avery photographs have been exhibited and have been included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.

Source: Wikipedia


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United States
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To be unique you must be yourself as the world only has one of you.” From that day forward, I have understood that to be original, you must remain true to yourself and your vision.AAP: What kind of gear do you use?I am a Nikon girl -- camera, lenses and speedlights.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Sometimes yes and other times no. I will say that, when I am in the process of editing or creating images, time seems to disappear; I am in my own world. When I am not shooting or creating, I am thinking about what needs to be taken care of, so that I can get back to my art.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I teach a photography group and I always advise them to keep the elements of composition in mind, photograph what inspires them and, if an idea hits you out of the blue, take a second to notate it for use later. Above all else, allow your images to serve as self-expression.AAP: Do you have an idea or project you would like to share?Recently, I have focused on my nature and wildlife photography. I have always loved birds and will sit in a field, by a stream or in a ditch along the side of a road for an hour or more to capture an elusive species or to wait for that moment of interaction. As a very young girl my fondest memory was sitting on my grandmother’s porch while she showed me tintypes of my great grandmother and other loved ones. Holding these tintypes in my hand and gazing into the eyes of my ancestors while hearing stories of my grandmother’s childhood was an experience I hold dear to my heart. Those tintypes were my first exposure to the art of photography. My series "Antique Aviary" is a melding of my lifelong passion for birds, my wildlife photography and my deep appreciation of the tintype image.AAP: What was your worst memory as a photographer?In April of this year I drove 400 miles to hand deliver my framed image “Great Horned Owl” from my “Antique Aviary” to the SMASHBOX exhibition during MOPLA (Month of Photography Los Angeles). Upon exiting my rental car, I took two steps and tripped into a 12inch pothole in the parking lot across the street from the Smashbox Studios in Hollywood and broke my foot.AAP: What is your best memory as a photographer?One day I was taking a drive with my 9 year old son. We were driving down a country road appreciating the tall mustard grass. Suddenly I spotted a 6 foot fence pole that was literally covered with bees. I pulled over, jumped out of the car and grabbed my camera from the trunk as well as a jacket to throw over my head. I told my son to stay in the car and take some photos with his little camera, but not to roll down the window. Bees were flying over my head and around my body to get to the pole. As I attempted to focus on the bees I realized that all these bees were vibrating up and down the pole. In order to get the shot, I was going to have to move in very close. At a couple of feet away I took the photos in my series “A Gathering of Bees.” When I returned to the car my son was a bit distraught. I said "I’m sorry if I took too long" and he said, “But Mommy, you’re allergic to bees. What if they swarmed you? What would I do?” I shall always remember the look on his face when I told him that if they swarmed me, “Take the Shot!”
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Solo Exhibition January 2022

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