By: Amanda Beausoleil
Richard Avedon’s exhibit at the SF MOMA reminds us all over again of his genius. When you look at his photographs it’s like you can feel the moment. You know exactly what he wanted to get across as if he was describing it to you himself. Even the most abstract pictures that you think you won’t understand you still get the feeling, the emotion, and the portrayal behind it.. When you look at his pictures you’re able to see the soul of the people he photographs screaming out of the picture.
The photos take you away right when you walk into the room of his pictures. Some are so intense that you’re scared to look at it for long. Like his photograph of the murderer Richard Hickock. The photograph is just of Hickock’s face starring into the unknown, yet Avedon captures so much in such a simplistic shot.
Richard Avedon not only had an impact in the photography industry, but also in the fashion business. In the exhibit most of the photographs were straightforward nonmoving pictures that just focused on the people’s emotions on their face. But when it came to his fashion pictures the power of his style changed into the fun, love, and excitement of the fashion world. His simplistic style washed away and captured the glamour of fashion. Like the photograph of Suzy Parker and Mike Nichols from Harper’s Bazaar. The picture goes in depth while still focusing on the clothing. He portrays fashion as more than just clothes. It’s a lifestyle, as the picture takes place at a casino in a high-end hotel, giving the perception that money is no object.
Also his iconic Marilyn Monroe portrait of her in a white tulle tutu; making us all feel the magic of the picture. It’s like a moment of a fairytale that lovers of the fashion industry would love to capture in their hand.
Whether he was snapping a shot for Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, or any other fashion magazine. Just by looking at the photograph the name “Richard Avedon” is written all over the page. He also made a mark on fashion by giving fashion an even bigger voice and stand. He made people see fashion as serious, along with the fun that travels behind it.
So what defines a great photographer? Someone who can capture a moment so pure it’s like you’re there. Someone who can get the most abstract idea across along with the most simplistic, and yet still have the same intensity. It’s someone who gives you the feeling that you’re able to step inside the picture, and for a moment everything else around you vanishes. Richard Avedon was one of those great photographers, and the lovers of the fashion world will always be grateful. For the beauty he brought to fashion.