Richard (1923-2004). American photographer, one of the greatest in the field of fashion. In his photos, which began to appear in the 1940s, the models became actors on unusual sets: the zoo, a circus, a launching pad, a refuse dump. He encouraged his subjects to move as spontaneously as possible in order to obtain images of the greatest naturalness. After studying philosophy at Columbia University, he went to war. On his return, in 1944, he began to be interested in photography and met Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper’s Bazaar’s, for whom he started to work in 1945. Once he had entered into the atmosphere of Brodovitch’s cerebral and deeply intellectual tones, Avedon would never abandon it. His work with the magazine would continue even with the directors who followed, until 1984. From 1966 to 1990 he also worked with Vogue. Many of his photos, in which the lens is focused on the “emotional geography” of a body or face, have been published by the French magazine Égoiste. Very important in his photos, in addition to the particular points of view, the sharp angles, and the stroboscopic lights, is the background, almost always white in order to empty the picture and deprive it of any outside reference. He has discovered and launched the most important models, from Dovima to Suzy Parker to Veruschka, and from Twiggy to Penelope Tree to Lauren Hutton to Benedetta Barzini. The public at large knows his work through the advertising campaigns and TV commercials he has done for Revlon, Chanel, Dior, and Versace. He was the first to photograph a man for the cover of a women’s magazine. It was the actor Steve McQueen. He has had several exhibitions of his work. Among them was the one in 1974 with portraits of his father, Jacob Israel, at the Museum of Modern Art. There was a retrospective of his fashion photos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1978. In 1994 his work was the subject of a large traveling exhibition called Evidence, 1944-1994.
In 1995 and 1997 he photographed the Pirelli calendars.
In September 2003 the Metropolitan Museum of New York gave him a retrospective.