Another Look at Richard Avedon.

©Richard Avedon

We can argue all day long about this but I think Richard Avedon was one of the five greatest photographer/artists in the entire 20th century and I think, in an almost subversive way, his intellectual and visual impact is still being felt by, and inspiring, enormous numbers of photographers around the world. So I was delighted to see this new book on a friend's desk last week.

Like most of the Avedon books this one is big, well designed and well produced. It features performers and performances (in the studio) that cover over 50 years of work.  The book is called, simply: Performance: Richard Avedon.

In addition to the great images of instantly recognizable (by any one over say, forty) stars and performers, there are several great essays including one that talks about being invited to dinner at Richard Avedon's place. He served very simple baked potatoes but then he brought out some garnishes for the baked potatoes including "about a pound of Beluga caviar..." 

If you don't have a Richard Avedon book/portfolio in your collection this is a fun place to start. At only around 12 Starbucks venti lattes (my preferred exchange rate. Almost as universal as the dollar but corrected for inflation....)  I consider this book to be a bargain.  It's a well printed and wonderfully entertaining volume that is also a small and tangential slice of what the cooler parts of the last century looked like through the eyes of one of the century's pre-eminent artists.

©Richard Avedon


So, who are the other four?  More to come.


Claire said...

Richard Avedon has long been my favorite photographer on Earth, and that's not about to change anytime soon. Thanks for mentioning the book.

Gordon Coale said...

I recently picked up "In the American West". A masterpiece. A peak of an amazing career.

Kirk Tuck said...

That's an amazing book. A scope of work that may never be equalled.

Anonymous said...

I'm a man of simple tastes. I like French Roast beans, that I grind myself, brewed (appropriately) in a French Press. I don't like to spoil it with cream and/or sugar so I drink it drink black.

I haven't been in a Starbucks in 4-5 years, 'cause I'm terminally un-hip. What in the world is a venti lattes??

c.d.embrey (always lower case, never caps)

Kirk Tuck said...

a Venti Latte is a coffee drink blended with steamed milk. It costs around $4 for a large (venti=size). I use it as a universal representation of monetary value since dollars inflate and deflate. The current exchange rate (in my mind) is 12 Venti Lattes = $50. Seems silly but the value equilibrium tracks real inflation since it's easier to understand historic values based on someone which has a fluid value but is pervasive in our culture. You are the only photographer in north America who has not visited a Starbucks in the last 90 days. According to in depth research. :-)

It's also a way of chiding my friends who are addicted to spending money on retail coffee but are quick to say, "That's too expensive!!!" to something of lasting value...

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to ruin good coffee with steamed milk 8-0 no accounting for taste (or the lack there-of) 8-)

The other day several of us were eating bacon-scramble-and-cheddar-panini s at the Corner Bakery. Can't get a panini at Starbucks 8-)

Coffee has a "fluid value," I like your ways with words 8-)