Richard Avedon


Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American photographer. An obituary published in The New York Times said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”. He has photographed the best of the best in every field of business. He has photographed the stars of music, film, literature, politics, art, dance, theater, and fashion. He got his start in 1947 in fashion photography, photographing for designers such as Dior. His photographs are some of the most well known photographs in the last 60 years.



Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish Russian family who started a successful retail dress business on Fifth Avenue. In 1944, Avedon began working as an advertising photographer, but was quickly moved on to fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. By1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and his clients included Vogue and Life. Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject. As his reputation as a photographer became widely known, he brought in many famous faces to his studio and photographed them with a large-format 8×10 view camera. His subjects include Buster Keaton, Marian Anderson, Marilyn Monroe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andy Warhol, and many other predominant personalties. His portraits are easily distinguished by their minimalist style, where the person is looking squarely in the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. Avedon would at times evoke reactions from his portrait subjects by guiding them into uncomfortable areas of discussion or asking them psychologically probing questions. Through these means he would produce images revealing aspects of his subject’s character and personality that were not typically captured by others.

in 2010 his seven foot (2.1336m) high print of model Dovima, posing in a Christian Dior evening dress with elephants sold for of £719,000 . This particular print, the largest of this image, was made in 1978 for Avedon’s fashion retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and was bought by Maison Christian Dior. It was this photo that inspired me to blog about this truly amazing individual.

On October 1, 2004, Avedon died of a brain hemorrhage (aged 81) in San Antonio, Texas, while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker. Avedon is survived by his son John, and his four grandchildren William, Matthew, Michael and Caroline. All images © Richard Avedon






For more infomation on Avadon have a look at

Richard Avedon: Murals and Portraits

  • ISBN-10: 1419705636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419705632

Avedon Fashion 1944-2000

  • ISBN-10: 0810983893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810983892

Reproduction (photocopying, hand-held camera copying, photoduplication and other forms of copying allowed by “fair use”. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730



Leave a Reply