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Thread: Avedon

  1. #21
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    One more reason not to be impressed by him. A machine-gunner, ...
    Of all the reasons to dismiss Avedon, that has to be the weakest.

  2. #22
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Jeroen - I am proudly one of those who finds Avedon generally pretentious, and often downright goofy in the sense of being overtly predictable 60's era in an especially obnoxious manner. There, I've said it, just so you know people like me truly exist, and really are sick of seeing Avedon's images plastered everywhere over and over again. Now I'll step out of the picture, so those of you who sincerely like his work can proceed with your own discussion. But in parting, lest you think some nobody like me is the only type of person holding such an opinion, just recall what Kertesz said about him : "A Zero". Apparently, New Yorkers can be really outspoken about one another when they need to be. And Kertesz's highly poetic photography, itself no-nonsense, that I do admire, especially as the output of someone who wasn't either chasing money or scheming to achieve fame, because he already had so much, that he really didn't need more, and it was left out of the equation when he took pictures.
    That's how I shoot. I don't let money or fame get in the way.

  3. #23

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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter View Post
    No one is "machine-gunning" with an 8x10, even with all the resources and assistants Avedon had. You may dislike Avedon, his style or technique, but when you cannot see through the camera, you can only guess if the subject's eyes are open or what the exact expression is. Then factor in multiple subjects. If he or his client can afford it and because of his fame and reputation, subjects would put up with it, more power to him. Remember, they can always get up and leave. By the way, I don't believe he ever said he was capturing the real person--he always said he could never photograph anything but the surface.
    That's my opinion too Pieter.
    I had an idea of Avedon and his work when I first saw it (only through books, unfortunately not in an exhibition). That idea changed after reading "Avedon at Work, In The American West" and changed again during the reading of "Something Personal" (more the idea of him than of his work).
    I would suggest to read "Avedon at Work" by Lura Wilson to have a bare idea of what is behind those one hundred and something pictures.
    He was a true artist and, of course, he was also very smart as a business man of him self. His influence was, and still is, huge.
    A good picture requires taking risks

  4. #24
    Helcio J Tagliolatto's Avatar
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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    That's how I shoot. I don't let money or fame get in the way.

  5. #25
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Avedon

    RICHARD AVEDON: Picturing Models In Motion

    He is as described in that story, the basis for the photographer in Funny Face, one of my favorite movies

    I prefer photographing women but very hard to find models right now

    My best work was done handheld with strobes, subject constantly moving

    A 2 shot slider LF camera misses a lot
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  6. #26
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Avedon

    My opinion is that Avedon never was in the American West. He was inside a portable New York tent concocting stereotypes and catchy myths. A few interesting shots in that book, but a lot of corny gimmicks too; neurotic, over the top, just for effect. The dude with the bees....C'mon. It does tell a lot about his own brash personality and calculated edgy marketing persona. Conspicuously artsy in a predictable dated manner. But the real subjects got little respect; just specimens to him, to be posed as marketable myth. He should have just frozen them in position with a can of freon and saved a few hundred sheets of film.

  7. #27
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    My opinion is that Avedon never was in the American West. He was inside a portable New York tent concocting stereotypes and catchy myths. A few interesting shots in that book, but a lot of corny gimmicks too; neurotic, over the top, just for effect. The dude with the bees....C'mon. It does tell a lot about his own brash personality and calculated edgy marketing persona. Conspicuously artsy in a predictable dated manner. But the real subjects got little respect; just specimens to him, to be posed as marketable myth. He should have just frozen them in position with a can of freon and saved a few hundred sheets of film.
    You certainly don't like Avedon. For my edification, could you cite someone as an example of an equally prolific people photographer that you would like? And by the way, Avedon did not not work inside a tent--that was Irving Penn. Whose lighting was often more dramatic, but whose portraits sometimes fell short and who also relied on gimmicks such as the corner he assembled or the carpeting over (I'm guessing) apple boxes.

  8. #28
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    My opinion is that Avedon never was in the American West. He was inside a portable New York tent concocting stereotypes and catchy myths. A few interesting shots in that book, but a lot of corny gimmicks too; neurotic, over the top, just for effect. The dude with the bees....C'mon. It does tell a lot about his own brash personality and calculated edgy marketing persona. Conspicuously artsy in a predictable dated manner. But the real subjects got little respect; just specimens to him, to be posed as marketable myth. He should have just frozen them in position with a can of freon and saved a few hundred sheets of film.
    Drew - 17000 8 x10 negatives over a five year period,, 130 final prints for the exhibit.. this project will go down in history as one of the greatest photo projects ever.... When he was near death he was asked if he had any regrets, his answer was that he wished he had continued on The American West.

    This work is brilliant IMHO.

  9. #29

    Re: Avedon

    I own his books EVIDENCE THE SIXTIES PORTRAITS

    I enjoy reviewing them periodically.

    I like the Charlie Rose interviews back in the day and watched them in the last couple of days, I think they hold up.
    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

  10. #30
    lenicolas's Avatar
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    Re: Avedon

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    That's also quite a stack of money to burn on a single session. I realize that some of those sessions involved multiple models, sequentially posed against white sheets, like bugs in a row pinned to a white-lined insect collection box. Whatever. Leaves me cold. [...] Gimmicks, always gimmicks.
    This is interesting because to me this is what is so interesting about Avedon.
    He photographed people like we collect insects. Separated from context, all brought into an identical (thus democratic) white void. At this point of photography history who else had done that? Originally only the rich and famous had their portraits taken. And when August Sander photographed ordinary people he made sure to get them in the context of their profession. He didn’t photograph John Doe the brick layer, just a stereotypical bricklayer.

    And Avedon assumed the role of the editor. The people who ended up in Avedon’s American West aren’t there because of their money or their birthright, or even their profession. They are there because he as an Artist saw something in their face or their demeanour or their story.

    That’s why looking at Avedon’s work has taught so many photographers so much about the medium.
    There’s a material for reflection here that many of us have noticed. You included since you picked up on the «bug in a box» feeling of his work.

    Btw, I have to disagree with your dismissal of the work as riddled with gimmicks.
    Avedon’s subjects -like bugs in a box- are presented in a way to encourage the viewer to study them. Propped against a seamless backdrop and under very neutral light. They are cut out from context and any editorial decision.
    The only two things to analyse are the surface of the photographs and the editorial decision of Avedon to have them here.
    To compare to another immense portrait maker, I find the work of Arnold Newman infinitely more gimmicky. For example Newman is going through great lengths to record his -jusified- disgust at nazi industrialist Alfred Krupp but that to me is the epitome of a gimmicky portrait. «Nazis are evil and ugly» is a necessary message but hardly groundbreaking. A neutral Avedon portrait of Krupp would have asked «Nazis are evil, but are they ugly?» and that’s a bit more interesting.
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

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