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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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1971
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He visited "extremely serious, very heavy S&M bars" and the abandoned West Side Hudson River piers where men cruised for sex. In 1975, Hujar published Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Sontag. After a tepid reception, the book became a classic in American photography. The rest of the 1970s was a period of prolific work. In early 1981, Hujar met the writer, filmmaker, and artist David Wojnarowicz, and after a brief period as Hujar's lover, Wojnarowicz became a protégé linked to Hujar for the remainder of the photographer's life. Hujar remained instrumental in all phases of Wojnarowicz's emergence as an important young artist. Hujar's work received only marginal public recognition during his lifetime. In January 1987, Hujar was diagnosed with AIDS. He died 10 months later at the age of 53 on November 25 at Cabrini Medical Center in New York. His funeral was held at Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village and he was buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. Hujar willed his estate to his friend Stephen Koch. Source: Wikipedia Peter Hujar (born 1934) died of AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of photographs. Hujar was a leading figure in the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the forefront of the cultural scene in downtown New York in the 1970s and early 80s, and he was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life. He was a consummate technician, and his portraits of people, animals, and landscapes, with their exquisite black-and-white tonalities, were extremely influential. Highly emotional yet stripped of excess, Hujar’s photographs are always beautiful, although rarely in a conventional way. His extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976, but his “difficult” personality and refusal to pander to the marketplace ensured that it was one of the last publications during his lifetime.Source: The Peter Hujar Archive Peter Hujar, who died of aids-related pneumonia in 1987, at the age of fifty-three, was among the greatest of all American photographers and has had, by far, the most confusing reputation. A dazzling retrospective, curated by Joel Smith at the Morgan Library & Museum, of a hundred and sixty-four pictures affirms Hujar’s excellence while, if anything, complicating his history. The works range across the genres of portraiture, nudes, cityscape, and still-life—the stillest of all from the catacombs of Palermo, Italy, shot in 1963, when he was there with his lover at the time, the artist Paul Thek. The finest are portraits, not only of people. Some memorialize the existence of cows, sheep, and—one of my favorites—an individual goose, with an eagerly confiding mien. The quality of Hujar’s hand-done prints, tending to sumptuous blacks and simmering grays, transfixes. He was a darkroom master, maintaining technical standards for which he got scant credit except among certain cognoscenti. He never hatched a signature look to rival those of more celebrated elders who influenced him, such as Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus, or those of Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin, younger peers who learned from him. His pictures share, in place of a style, an unfailing rigor that can only be experienced, not described. Hujar needed no introduction to the low. He never met his father, who abandoned his mother, a diner waitress, before his birth, in 1934, in Trenton. She left his raising to her Ukrainian-speaking Polish parents in semirural surroundings in Ewing Township, New Jersey, until, when he was eleven, she took him to live with her and a new husband in a one-room apartment in Manhattan. The home wasn’t happy. Hujar moved out at sixteen, at first sleeping on the couch of a mentoring English teacher at the School of Industrial Arts (now the High School of Art and Design): the fine poet, editor, and translator Daisy Aldan, a free-spirited lesbian who is portrayed in the earliest of his works in the Morgan show, from 1955.Source: The New Yorker
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AAP Magazine #38: Women
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