"I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her ultimate portrait."
Avedon started working in fashion in 1944 as a chief photographer for Harper's Bazaar. Here he became known for portraying how women really felt through his photos whether it was insecure or happy. His images of laughing women became his most popular. One thing I just discovered about him that made me love him even more, was that he used to fight with the magazine to show women of different races like China Machado and he threatened to leave in the 60's unless they used his photo of African-American model Donyale Luna.
Avedon ended up leaving Harper's Bazaar in 1966 to work for Vogue until Anna Wintour's arrival in 1988. Apparently she asked him to audition for him and did not like what she saw so Avedon left. However he left Vogue with so many incredible images where he was able to capture the spirit of that time so well, including stunning images of iconic models Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, and Penelope Tree.
In 1992 he became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. They called it 'Avedon's return to fashion' and his first images shown were a color portfolio of a model with a skeleton, which could be seen as a stand-in for Avedon in some sense. After that he mainly photographed a lot of avante-garde couture fashions from designers like Yamamoto and Gaultier, mostly in black and white.
I just love Avedon's images and I think in a lot of he ways he changed the way people viewed fashion. Instead of portraying prim and proper ladies he showed women in their reality illuminating how they were really feeling. He pushed the envelope encouraging his models to emote and move around, urging them to be more than just motionless clothes hangers. He was able to truly capture the energy and emotions of the world around him and yet was so ahead of his time with his techniques and appreciation of all things beautiful. The New York Times covered this new exhibit very well and made a brief but very informative video on the photographer you can watch HERE. The retrospective will be displayed in New York until September 6(which means I get to see it!).
(Pictures via Cyanatrendland.com)