Fashion Photography arose from a need to entice prospective clients to buy garments. However, it has evolved to become that and more. When photographers prioritize creating beautiful imagery they are blurring the lines between art and business. They create stills that withstand the test of time.
Movement and expression are the two pillars of the magical “Avedon blur”. The Harper’s Bazaar fashion photographer Richard Avedon was able to embody the evolving nature of the times. He transformed the medium with his sensitivity and the responsiveness to the freedom and new sense of power gained by women post WWII. He was primarily interested in conveying the humanness of woman on camera. Before him most photographs showcased women in statuesque form, beautiful but distant and aloof. His lens captured the multiplicity. Models ran, danced, jumped, cried, and laughed. They were animated and lively. Surprise or joy was seen in every part of their being; from the arch of an eyebrow to the gesture of a hand. His photographs felt so natural and genuine it was as if those moments were accidently caught on camera and not carefully staged – such was his touch.
“It is this power to induce the conviction that one is witnessing a crucial instant in the emotional life of the subject, and to stimulate curiosity as to what brought it about and what will ensue, that gives the Avedon photograph its peculiar distinction—that of being not so much a picture of a well-dressed beautiful woman as a revelatory glimpse of a feminine psyche confronted with a situation involving action or passion.”
With such gripping photographs, no wonder designers flocked to Avedon to showcase the essence of their well-crafted designs. Beyond fashion, his 60-year career spanned multiple genres. His talent lend itself to capturing moving portraits of notable cultural icons like Coco Chanel, Andy Warhol, and Allen Ginsberg. His portraits of The Beatles were used as band posters and for album covers.
Avedon’s photography is marked for its whimsy, elegance and sincerity. It is a distinct combination that has us coming back to his images again and again.