Photographer Richard Avedon, with a more than six-decade-long career, produced innovative and delightful work in fashion, as well as incisive and captivating portraits. Over the course of his lifetime he worked with a number of models and a wide range of portrait subjects, creating a powerful body of pictures that allow his viewers to study the likenesses of actors, ballet dancers, celebrities, civil rights activists, heads of state, inventors, musicians, visual artists and writers.
Avedon offers viewers the opportunity to study faces without crossing any socially imposed boundaries about staring too long; he encourages viewers to think about the people before them, the lives they have lived, their private personalities and public personas, their struggles, accomplishments, disappointments, and joys. Richard Avedon. Relationships presents a selection of 100 iconic fashion photographs and portraits, from the extensive collection at the Center for Creative Photography, to delve into his approach to photographing people.
Avedon’s combination of talent and skill, technical proficiency and attuning to his individual subjects, allowed him to make portraits that are riveting presentations of the people he photographed. Indeed, he achieved mastery of the portraiture form. Avedon had the opportunity to photograph a number of his portrait subjects on more than one occasion. Within the catalogue it is possible to see painter Jasper Johns in 1965 and 1976; novelist Carson McCullers in 1956 and 1958; the Beatles Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, and poet Allen Ginsberg in 1963 and 1970. Perhaps the most dramatic and powerful example of Avedon’s ongoing photographic relationship is that with his friend and collaborator, Truman Capote.