Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Goodbye Mr. Avedon

This is a belated remembrance of Richard Avedon, who died last week while on assignment. He was 81.

I remember seeing an exhibit at Art Center shortly after The Family was published. The issue of Rolling Stone which ran the photographs was the only time I bought two copies of the rag. As I recall, I cut the pages out of one copy and hung them up. The other copy may still be hidden away in a cardboard box someplace. The show was incredible, with 8 foot tall portraits of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with other notable and forgetable people.

I also remember the only time I traveled to see an art show. It was traveling by train from Los Angeles to Berkeley (I think that was in 1980) to see the Avedon show at the University. As always it was fantastic, life affirming, and memorable in so many ways.

It's perhaps ironic that I don't remember Richard Avedon as the fashion photographer, which of course is the role which made him famous. But it was as a portrait photographer that he most impacted me, personally, creatively, and (for a while) professionally. It was through his camera's gaze where I first realized the power of vérité. Others have done this, but he was the one who showed it to me.

Thank you Mr. Avedon. Your next photograph will forever be missed.


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