Photography Great: Richard Avedon

Master of the portrait

Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000I recently purchased Avedon Fashion 1944-2000, and I’m so happy I did. Flipping through the pages I was greeted with such stunning visuals that I physically gasped on more than one occassion.  Impressed by his range, I wanted to take a sampling to show you this man’s powerful talent with the lens.

If you’re not familiar with him, let me introduce you: Richard Avedon (1923-2004) is famous for his fashion images, having started his career
photographing for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and LIFE in 1946. He became lead photographer at Vogue in 1966, photographing every Vogue cover from 1973 to 1988. In his fashion images, he has such a knack for capturing a moment, yet in his portraits, he captures such attitude you almost feel like you’re learning a little secret about each of his subjects. 

Of his own work, he said in 1980, “My photographs don’t go beyond the surface. They don’t go below anything. They’re readings of the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues. But whenever I become absorbed in a the beauty of a face, in the excellence of a single feature, I feel I’ve lost what’s really there…been seduced by someone else’s standard of beauty or by the sitter’s own idea of the best in him. That’s not usually the best. So each sitting becomes a contest.”

Richard Avedon: Marlon Brando, 1951

Richard Avedon: Audrey Hepburn, 1953

Richard Avedon: Marilyn Monroe, 1957

Richard Avedon: Ingrid Bergman, 1961

Richard Avedon: Suzy Parker, 1962

Richard Avedon: Elizabeth Taylor, 1964

Richard Avedon: Barbra Streisand, 1965

Richard Avedon: China Machado, 1965

Richard Avedon: Donyale Luna, 1966

Richard Avedon: Veruschka, 1967

Richard Avedon: Veruschka, 1967

Richard Avedon: Twiggy, 1968

Richard Avedon: Catherine Deneuve, 1968

Richard Avedon: Sophia Loren, 1970

Richard Avedon: Jean Shrimpton, 1970

Richard Avedon: Tina Turner, 1971

Richard Avedon: Stephanie Seymour, 1995

Richard Avedon: Kate Moss, 1997

“When the sitting is over, I feel kind of embarrassed about what we’ve shared. It’s so intense.”

Intense indeed, wouldn’t you say? Are you moved?


Images via
Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. Wow! I have always loved Avedon’s portraits. For purely aesthetic purposes, my fave is the Kate Moss one – sort of an 80’s glam vibe. But for “feeling something”, something I would put on my wall – you can’t beat Marlon F*#$ing Brando shaving and smoking…hot!
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  2. Moved? Are you kidding, I’m headed out the door to buy the book! Thank you so much for sharing, I really am going to get the book. A true genius behind the lense.

    In total agreement with Elizabeth, Marlon F*#$ing Brando,HOT HOTTY HOT!

    1. Get it on Amazon! I’m sure much cheaper than in a book store (if they even have it!).

      I think a lot of these portraits are in his “Portraits” book tho. There were some in this book but I took all of these images on his website.

    1. Yes Marilyn’s is very poignant isn’t it? Marlon did not age well but yowza was he a hottie in his youth!