History of Photography


History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991

Photographers' Dictionary



Chapter 10



DAVID SEYMOUR (CHIM) (collection)
ROBERT CAPA (collection)
W. EUGENE SMITH (collection)

BRASSAI (collection)
ROBERT DOISNEAU (collection)
NICKOLAS MURAY (collection)
RICHARD AVEDON (collection)






Photojournalism—War Reportage


In the United States in the late 1930s. Life magazine, which had evolved from ideas and experiences tested in Europe even though it was itself quintessentially American, came to represent a paradigm of photojournalism. For its concept, Life, a publication of Henry Luce, drew upon many sources. In addition to the example of the European picture weeklies, it took into account the popularity of cinema newsreels, in particular The March of Time with which the Luce publishing enterprise was associated. The successes of Luce's other publications—the cryptically written Time and the lavishly produced Fortune, with its extensive use of photographic illustration to give essays on American industrialism an attractive gloss—also were factors in the decision to launch a serious picture weekly that proposed to humanize through photography the complex political and social issues of the time for a mass audience. Following Life's debut in 1936, with a handsome industrial image of the gigantic concrete structure of Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White on its first cover (pi no. 602), the weekly demonstrated that through selection, arrangement, and captioning, photographs could, in the words of its most influential picture editor, Wilson Hicks, "lend themselves to something of the same manipulation as words." Vivid images, well printed on large-size pages of coated stock, attracted a readership that mounted to three million within the magazine's first three years. Life was followed by other weeklies with a similar approach, among them Look and Holiday in the United States, Picture Post, Heute, Paris Match, and Der Spiegel in Europe.

The first ten years of Life coincided with the series of conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Europe that eventually turned into the second World War. Not surprisingly, between 1936 and 1945 images of strife in Abyssinia, China, France, Italy, the Soviet Union, and remote Pacific islands filled the pages of the magazine; for the first time, worldwide audiences were provided a front-row seat to observe global conflicts. In response to the insatiable demand for dramatic pictures and despite censorship imposed by military authorities or occasioned by the magazine's own particular editorial policy, war images displayed a definite style, dianks in part to new, efficient camera equipment. The opportunity to convince isolation-prone Americans of the evils of Fascism undoubtedly was a factor in the intense feeling evident in a number of the images by European photojournalists on the battlefields.

In style, these photographs were influenced both by the precise character of the New Objectivity and by the spontaneity facilitated by the small camera. Eisenstaedt's portrayal of an Ethiopian soldier fighting in puttees and bare feet against Mussolini's army during the Italian con-quest of Abyssinia in 1935 (pi. no. 596) focuses on an unusual and poignant detail to suggest the tragedy of the unprepared Abyssinians confronting a ruthless, well-equipped army. May Daw Barcelona (pi no. 605) by Chim (David Seymoun conveys through harsh contrast and the facial expression of the woman looking upward the intensity with which the Spanish people greeted the insurrection of the exiled government that led to the Spanish Civil War.


6O2. MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE. Fort Peck Dam, Montana, 1936.
First cover of Life Magazine, November 23, 1936.

MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE  (see collection)

605. CHIM (DAVID SEYMOUR). May Day, Barcelona, 1936.
Gelatin silver print.

DAVID SEYMOUR (CHIM)  (see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Chim (pronounced shim) was the pseudonym of David Seymour (November 20, 1911 – November 10, 1956), an American photographer and photojournalist. Born David Szymin in Warsaw to Polish Jewish parents, he became interested in photography while studying in Paris. He began working as a freelance journalist in 1933.
Chim's coverage of the Spanish Civil War, Czechoslovakia and other European events established his reputation. He was particularly known for his poignant treatment of people, especially children. In 1939 he documented the journey of Loyalist Spanish refugees to Mexico and was in New York when World War II broke out. In 1940 he enlisted in the United States Army, serving in Europe as a photo interpreter during the war. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1942, the same year that his parents were killed by the Nazis. After the war, he returned to Europe to document the plight of refugee children for UNESCO.
Sometime after D-Day, Chim met Life (magazine)'s Paris Bureau Head Will Lang Jr. and had lunch with him at a cafe' in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, France. Alongside with him that day was reporter Dida Comacho and photographer Yale Joel.
In 1947, Chim co-founded the Magnum Photos photography cooperative, together with Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom he had befriended in 1930s Paris. Chim's reputation for his compelling photos of war orphans was complemented by his later work in photographing Hollywood celebrities such as Sophia Loren, Kirk Douglas, Ingrid Bergman, and Joan Collins.
After Capa's death in 1954, Chim became president of Magnum Photos. He held the post until November 10, 1956, when he was killed (together with French photographer Jean Roy) by Egyptian machine-gun fire, while covering the armistice of the 1956 Suez War.

Picasso in front of his picture,
Guernica at its unveiling at the Spanish Pavilion of the World’s Fair,
Paris, 1937.


An even more famous image of that conflict is Death of a Loyalist Soldier (pi. no. 606) by Robert Capa, a Hungarian-born photojournalist whose images of the Civil War appeared in Vu, Picture Post, and, in 1938, in a book entitled Death in the Making. At the time, Capa's views of civilians, soldiers, and bombed ruins seemed to sum up the shocking irrationality of war; the photographer also established the mystique of the photojournalist's commitment to being part of the action being recorded. While Capa quipped that he preferred to "remain unemployed as a war photographer," he held that "if your pictures aren't good enough you're not close enough." Eventually he found himself photographing the invasion of Normandy on D-Day (pi. no. 607) for Life; he died in 1954 on a battlefield in Indochina, where he was killed by a landmine—a fate similar to that of several other photojournalists who photographed war action.

Bourke-White, Lee Miller, Carl Mydans, George Rodger, George Silk, and W. Eugene Smith, among other Allied photojournalists, were active on various fronts during World War II, and photographers in the Armed Services also provided coverage. Despite hesitation on the part of army brass to show the full extent of war's suffering and death and despite their preference for uplifting imagery, photographs that the American photojournalist Smith (see Profile) made during the Pacific campaign (pi. no. 608) express compassion for the victimized, whether combatants or civilians, who are caught up in incomprehensible circumstances. This attitude continued to be a leitmotif of the imagery made by Western Europeans and Americans during the second World War and its aftermath. It is visible in the work of David Douglas Duncan in Korea, Philip Jones Griffiths in Vietnam, Romano Cagnoni in Cambodia and Pakistan (pi. no. 610), and Donald McCullin in Vietnam, Cyprus, and Africa (pi no. 611), to name only a few of the many photojournalists reporting the struggles that continued to erupt in the less-industrialized parts of the world. At times, these photographers relieved the grimness of events by concentrating on the picturesque aspects of a scene, exemplified by Duncan's image of the Turkish cavalry in the snow (pi. no. 609), in which small figures disposed over the flattened white ground bring to mind Ottoman miniatures rather than contemporary warfare.

The work of Polish and Russian photographers on the Eastern Front in World War II has become better known in the West during the past two decades. Galina Sanko's corpses (pi. no. 612) and Dmitri Baltermants's Identifying the Dead, Russian Front (pi. no. 613) portray the victims with sorrow, but Soviet war photographers also celebrated victories, as in Yevgeny Khaldey's raising of the flag (pi. no. 601). Reportage of the liberation of Paris by Albert and Jean Seeberger (pi. no. 614) captures determination, heroism, and fear. In general, German and Japanese photographs of the war emphasize feats by native soldiers and civilians, but images of the aftermath of the atom bombing of Nagasaki by the United States Air Force, taken by the Japanese army photographer Yosuke Yamahata, are entirely different. First brought to light some 40 years after the event, these gruesome images—divested of any nationality—are emblems of a nuclear tragedy that had the potential to efface humanitv everywhere.

606. ROBERT CAPA. Death of a Loyalist Soldier, 1936.
Gelatin silver print.

ROBERT CAPA  (see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Robert Capa (Budapest, October 22, 1913 – May 25, 1954) was a 20th century combat photographer who covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. He documented the course of World War II in London, North Africa, Italy, the Battle of Normandy on Omaha Beach and the liberation of Paris. Capa's younger brother, Cornell Capa, is also a photographer.
Born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary in 1913 as Endre Ernő Friedmann, Capa left the country in 1932 after being arrested because of his political involvement with protestors against the government (his parents had encouraged him to settle elsewhere).
Capa originally wanted to be a writer; however, he found work in photography in Berlin and grew to love the art. In 1933, he moved from Germany to France because of the rise of Nazism (he was Jewish), but found it difficult to find work there as a freelance journalist. He adopted the name "Robert Capa" around this time because he felt that it would be recognizable and American-sounding since it was similar to that of film director Frank Capra.
From 1936 to 1939, he was in Spain, photographing the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. In 1936 he became known across the globe for a photo he took on the Cordoba Front of a Loyalist Militiaman who had just been shot and was in the act of falling to his death. Because of his proximity to the victim and the timing of the capture, there was a long controversy about the authenticity of this photograph. A Spanish historian identified the dead soldier as Federico Borrell García, from Alcoi (Valencia). There is a second photograph showing another soldier who fell on the same spot.
Many of Capa's photographs of the Spanish Civil War were, for many decades, presumed lost, but surfaced in Mexico City in the late 1990s. While fleeing Europe in 1939, Capa had lost the collection, which over time came to be dubbed the "Mexican suitcase". Ownership of the collection was transferred to the Capa Estate, and in December, 2007, moved to the International Center of Photography, a museum founded by Capa's younger brother Cornell in Manhattan.
At the start of World War II, Capa was in New York City. He had moved there from Paris to look for new work and to escape Nazi persecution. The war took Capa to various parts of the European Theatre on photography assignments. He first photographed for Collier's Weekly, before switching to Life after he was fired by the former. When first hired, he was a citizen of Hungary, but he was also Jewish, which allowed him to negotiate visas to Europe. He was the only "enemy alien" photographer for the Allies. On October 7, 1943, Robert Capa was in Naples with Life reporter Will Lang Jr. and photographed the Naples post office bombing.
His most famous work occurred on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) when he swam ashore with the second assault wave on Omaha Beach. He was armed with two Contax II cameras mounted with 50 mm lenses and several rolls of spare film. Capa took 106 pictures in the first couple of hours of the invasion. However, a staff member at Life made a mistake in the darkroom; he set the dryer too high and melted the emulsion in the negatives. Only eleven frames in total were recovered.
Although a fifteen-year-old lab assistant named Dennis Banks was responsible for the accident, another account, now largely accepted as untrue but which gained widespread currency, blamed Larry Burrows, who worked in the lab not as a technician but as a "tea-boy".  Life magazine printed 10 of the frames in its June 19, 1944 issue with captions that described the footage as "slightly out of focus", explaining that Capa's hands were shaking in the excitement of the moment (something which he denied). Capa used this phrase as the title of his alternately hilarious and sad autobiographical account of the war, Slightly Out of Focus.
In 1947 Capa traveled into the Soviet Union with his friend, writer John Steinbeck. He took photos in Moscow, Kiev, Tbilisi, Batumi and among the ruins of Stalingrad. The humorous reportage of Steinbeck, A Russian Journal was illustrated with Capa's photos. It was first published in 1948.
In 1947, Capa founded Magnum Photos with Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Vandivert, David Seymour, and George Rodger. In 1951, he became the president.
In the early 1950s, Capa traveled to Japan for an exhibition associated with Magnum Photos. While there, Life magazine asked him to go on assignment to Southeast Asia, where the French had been fighting for eight years in the First Indochina War. Despite the fact he had sworn not to photograph another war a few years earlier, Capa accepted and accompanied a French regiment with two other Time-Life journalists, John Mecklin and Jim Lucas. On May 25, 1954 at 2:55 p.m., the regiment was passing through a dangerous area under fire when Capa decided to leave his jeep and go up the road to photograph some of the advance. About five minutes later, Mecklin and Lucas heard a loud explosion. Capa had stepped on a landmine. When they arrived on the scene he was still alive, but his left leg had been blown to pieces and he had a serious wound in his chest. Mecklin screamed for a medic and Capa's body was taken to a small field hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He had died with his camera in his hand.

see also: 
Robert Capa. Spanish Loyalist, 1936

607. ROBERT CAPA. Normandy Invasion, June 6,1944.
Gelatin silver print.

608. W. EUGENE SMITH. Marines under Fire, Saipan, 1943.
Gelatin silver print.

W. EUGENE SMITH  (see collection)

609. DAVID DOUGLAS DUNCAN. "Black Avni" Turkish Cavalry on Maneuvers, 1948.
Gelatin silver print. Collection Nina Abrams, New York.

DAVID DOUGLAS DUNCAN  (see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

David Douglas Duncan (born January 23, 1916) is an American photojournalist and among the most influential photographers of the 20th Century. He is best known for his dramatic combat photographs.
Duncan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, where his childhood was marked with interest in the outdoors, which helped him obtain the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts at a relatively young age. Duncan briefly attended the University of Arizona, where he studied archaeology. While in Tucson, he inadvertently photographed John Dillinger trying to get into a hotel. Duncan eventually continued his education at the University of Miami, where he graduated in 1938, having studied zoology and Spanish. It was in Miami that his interest in photojournalism piqued. He served as picture editor and photographer of the university paper.
His career as a photojournalist had its origin when he took photographs of a hotel fire in Tucson, Arizona where he was then studying archaeology at the University of Arizona. His photos included one of a hotel guest who made repeated attempts to go back into the burning building for his suitcase. That photo proved to be newsworthy when the guest turned out to have been notorious bank robber John Dillinger and the suitcase to have contained the proceeds of a bank robbery in which he had shot a police officer.
After college, Duncan was commissioned as an officer in the US Marines and became a combat photographer. After brief postings in California and Hawaii, he was sent to the South Pacific on assignment when the United States entered World War II. Though combat photographers are often close to the action, they rarely fight. However, in a brief engagement at Bougainville Island, Duncan found himself fighting against the Japanese. Duncan would later be on board the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender.
His war time photographs were so impressive that, after the war, he was hired by Life to join their staff upon the urging of J.R. Eyerman, Life's chief photographer. During his time with Life he covered many events including the end of the British Raj in India and conflicts in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Perhaps his most famous photographs were taken during the Korean War. He compiled many of his photos into a book called This Is War! (1951), with the proceeds going to widows and children of Marines who had been killed in the conflict. Duncan is considered to be the most prominent combat photographer of the Korean War.
In the Vietnam War, Duncan would eventually compile two additional books I Protest! (1968) and War Without Heroes (1970). Here, Duncan stepped out of his role as a neutral photographer and challenged how the US government was handling the war.
Aside from his combat photographs, Duncan is also known for his photographs of Pablo Picasso to whom he had been introduced by fellow photographer Robert Capa. Eventually, he was to publish seven books of photographs of Picasso.
In 1966 he published Yankee Nomad a visual autobiography that collected representative photographs from throughout his career. In 2003 this was revised and published under the title of Photo Nomad.



610. ROMANO CAGNONI. East Pakistan: Villagers Welcoming Liberation Forces, 1971,
Gelatin silver print.

611. DONALD McCULLIN. Congolese Soldiers Ill-Treating Prisoners Awaiting Death in Stanleyville, 1964.
Gelatin silver print.

612. GALINA SANKO. Fallen German Soldiers on Russian Front, 1941.
Gelatin silver print. Sovfoto Magazine and VAAP, Moscow.

613. DMITRI BALTERMANTS. Identifying the Dead, Russian Front, 1942.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Citizen Exchange Council, New York.

614. ALBERT and JEAN SEEBURGER. Exchange of Fire at the Place de la Concorde, 1944.
Gelatin silver print. Zabriskic Gallery, New York.

Postwar Photojournalism


Photographs reproduced in Life, Look, and other picture journals from 1936 on were by no means solely concerned with war and destruction. The peripatetic photojournalist, pictured in a self-portrait by Andreas Feininger as an odd-looking creature of indeterminate sex, age, and nationality with camera lenses for eyes (pi. no. 616), roamed widely during the mid-century flowering of print journalism. Through photographs, readers of picture weeklies became more conscious of the immensity of human resources and of the varied forms of social conduct in remote places of the globe, even though these cultures ordinarily were seen from the point of view of Western capitalist society.

Readers also were introduced to the immensely useful role played by photographs of the scientific aspects of ani-mal and terrestrial life. By including the rnicrophotographs by Roman Vishniac and Fritz Goro (both emigres to the United States from Hitler's Germany), as well as views taken through telescopes and from airborne vehicles, the magazine expanded knowledge of the sciences generally and provided arresting visual imagery in monochrome and color, which helped prepare the public to accept similar visual abstractions in artistic photography.

In its efforts to encompass global happenings, Life included picture stories of the Soviet Union. Taken by Bourke-White, they brought American magazine readers their first glimpse of a largely unknown society. Later, the mysteries of existence in more remote places were revealed by an array of photographers, including the Swiss photo-journalists Werner Bischof, Rene Burri (pi. no. 615), and Ernst Haas and the French photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Marc Riboud, all of whom aimed their cameras at life in the Far East. Outstanding images of the hinterlands of South America and India were contributed by Bischof, and of subequatorial Africa by Cagnoni, Rodger, Lennart Nilsson, and, in the 1960s, McCullin (pi. no. 611). With the need for photographic essays expanding rapidly, picture agencies became even more significant dian before, leading to the establishment of new enterprises in the field, including a number of photographers' collaboratives. The best known, Magnum, was founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Chim, and Rodger. Gathering bits and pieces of lively "color," these post-war photoreporters and their editors reflected the popular yearning in the West for "one world," an understandable response to the divisiveness of the war. The stability of tradition seen in Constantine Manos's image of Greek villagers pulling a boat (pi. no. 617) and the starding contrast of old and new in BischoPs India: Jamshedpur Steel Factory (pi. no. 618) are but two examples of recurrent themes. Editors and photographers working for periodicals seemed to agree with the pronouncement that "the most important service photography can render" is to record human relations and "explain man to man" and man to himself. This benign idea, which ignored political and social antagonism on both domestic and foreign fronts, was the theme of The Family of Man, a highly praised exhibition and publication consisting largely of journalistic images. Organized by Edward Steichen in 1955, shortly after he became director of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the exhibition comprised 508 photographs from 68 countries, treated as if in a three-dimensional picture magazine— enlarged, reduced, and fitted into a layout designed by Steichen in collaboration with photographer Wayne Miller and architect Paul Rudolph, ostensibly to celebrate the "essential oneness of mankind throughout the world." Photographers whose work was displayed in The Family of Man had no control over size, quality of print (all were processed in commercial laboratories), or the context in which their work was shown, an approach that Steichen had adopted from prevailing magazine practice.

An essential aspect often overlooked in photojournalism has been the relationship between editorial policy and the individual photographer, especially in stories dealing with sensitive issues. Whereas underlying humanist attitudes sometimes provide a common ground for editor and photographer, the latter still has to submit to editorial decisions regarding selection, cropping, and captioning. That the photographer's intended meaning might be neutralized or perverted by lack of sufficient time to explore less accessible facets of the situation or by editorial intervention in the sequencing and captioning is illustrated by Smith's experiences at Life. His numerous picture essays— of which "Spanish Village" (pi. nos. 654-58), photographed in 1950 and published on April 19, 1951, is an example— gave Life a vivid yet compassionate dimension, but the photographer's battle for enough time to shoot and for control over the way his work was used was continual, ending with Smith's resignation in 1954.

Toward the mid-1960s, as newsmagazines went out of business or used fewer stories, it became apparent that photojournalism in print was being supplanted by electronic pictures—by television. In 1967, the Fund for Concerned Photography (later the International Center of Photography) was founded to recognize the contributions made by humanistic journalism during the heyday of the picture weeklies. This endeavor, initiated by Cornell Capa brother of Robert and himself a freelance photojournalist of repute), celebrated the efforts of "concerned photographers"—initially Bischof, Robert Capa, Leonard Freed, Kertesz, Chim, and Dan Weiner—to link photo-journalistic images with the humanistic social documentary tradition established by Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, and the Farm Security Administration photographers. Involving exhibitions, publications, and an educational wing, the center has since broadened its activities to include photographers whose humanism reveals itself through images of artifacts and nature.

615. RENE BURRI. Tien An Men Square, Beijing, 1965.
Gelatin silver print.

616. ANDREAS FEININGER. The Photojournalist, 1955.
Gelatin silver print.

ANDREAS FEININGER  (see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Andreas Bernhard Lyonel Feininger (27 December 1906 - 18 February 1999) was a French-born American photographer, and writer on photographic technique, noted for his dynamic black-and-white scenes of Manhattan and studies of the structure of natural objects.
Born in Paris, France, from an American family of German origin. His father, painter Lyonel Feininger, was born in New York City, in 1871. His great-grandfather emigrated from Durlach, Baden, in Germany, towards United States in 1848.
Feininger grew up and was educated as an architect in Germany, where his father painted and taught at Bauhaus. In 1936, he gave up architecture itself, moved to Sweden, and focused on photography. In advance of World War II, in 1939, Feininger immigrated to the U.S. where he established himself as a freelance photographer and in 1943 joined the staff of Life magazine, an association that lasted until 1962.
Feininger became famous for his photographs of New York. Science and nature, as seen in bones, shells, plants and minerals, were other frequent subjects, but rarely did he photograph people or make portraits. Feininger wrote comprehensive manuals about photography, of which the best known is The Complete Photographer. In the introduction to one of Feininger's books of photographs, Ralph Hattersley described him as "one of the great architects who helped create photography as we know it today." In 1966, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) awarded Feininger its highest distinction, the Robert Leavitt Award. In 1991, the International Center of Photography awarded Feininger the Infinity Lifetime Achievement Award.

New York 1940 - Lower East Side


617. CONSTANTINE MANOS. Beaching a Fishing Boat, Karpathos, Greece, c. 1965.
Gelatin silver print.

618. WERNER BISCHOF. India: Jamshedpur Steel Factory, 1951.
Gelatin silver print.

Small-Camera Photography in the 1930s

Initially devoted to conveying fact and psychological nuance in news events, the small camera began to appeal to European photographers as an instrument of perceptive personal expression as well. Indeed, the photographs made by Kertesz and Cartier-Bresson during the 1930s suggest that it is not always possible to separate self-motivated from assigned work in terms of style and treatment. Kertesz saw his work exhibited as art photography at the same time that  was being reproduced in periodicals in Germany and France. What is more, his unusual sensitivity to moments of intense feeling and his capacity to organize the elements of a scene into an arresting visual structure (see Chapter 9) inspired both Cartier-Bresson and Brassai (Gyula Halasz) in their choices of theme and treatment.

Cartier-Bresson approached photography, whether made for himself or in the course of assignments for Vu and other periodicals, with intellectual and artistic attitudes summed up in his concept of the "decisive moment." This way of working requires an interrelationship of eye, body, and mind that intuitively recognizes the moment when formal and psychological elements within the visual field take on enriched meanings. For example, in Place de l'Europe, Paris (pi. no. 619) one recognizes the ordinary and somewhat humorous gesture of a hurrying person trying to avoid wetting his feet in a street flood, but the picture also involves a visual pun about shadow and substance, life and art. It illustrates (though it hardly exhausts) the photographer's claim that "photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give the event its proper expression." (See also pi. nos. 620 and 621.)

Brassai, a former painting student transplanted from Hungary to Paris in 1923, found himself mesmerized by the city at night and, on Kertesz's suggestion, began to use a camera (a 6.5 x 9 cm Voigtlander Bergheil) to capture the nocturnal life at bars, brothels, and on the streets. By turns piquant, satiric, and enigmatic, Brassai's images for this project display a sensitive handling of light and atmosphere, whether of fog-enshrouded avenues (pi. no. 622) or harshly illuminated bars (pi. no, 623), and they reveal the photographer's keen sense for the moment when gesture and expression add a poignant dimension to the scene.

Interesting in comparison with the subtle suggestive-ness of Brassai's voyeurism evident in Pat-is de Nuit (Paris by Night) (1933) is the stridency of the images included in Naked City, a 1936 publication of photographs, many made at night, by the American photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig). This brash but observant freelance news-paper photographer, who pursued sensationalist news stories with a large press camera, approached scenes of everyday life—and of violence and death—with uncommon feeling and wit. Exemplified by The Critic (pi. no. 624), his work transcends the superficial character of most daily photoreportage.

Virtually all subsequent 35mm photography was influenced by Carrier-Bresson's formulation of the "decisive moment." In France, heirs to this concept include Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Izis (Bidermanas), and Edouard Boubat—all active photojournalists during the 1940s and later, whose individual styles express their unique sensibilities. Doisneau, who gave up a career in commercial and fashion photography late in 1940 to devote himself to depicting life in the street, has brought a delightful and humane humor to his goal of celebrating individuality in the face of encroaching standardization of product and behavior (pi no. 625). The work of Ronis and Izis (pi no. 626) is lyrical and romantic, while Boubafs images, made during the course of numerous assignments in foreign countries for Realties and Paris Match, are tender and touching (pi no. 627).

619. HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Place de I'Europe, Paris, 1932.
Gelatin silver print.

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON (see collection)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004) was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, an early adopter of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography. He helped develop the "street photography" style that has influenced generations of photographers that followed.
Cartier-Bresson was born in Chanteloup-en-Brie, near Paris, France, the eldest of five children. His father was a wealthy textile manufacturer whose Cartier-Bresson thread was a staple of French sewing kits. He also sketched in his spare time. His mother's family were cotton merchants and landowners from Normandy, where he spent part of his childhood. The Cartier-Bresson family lived in a bourgeois neighborhood in Paris, near the Europe Bridge, and provided him with financial support to develop his interests in photography in a more independent manner than many of his contemporaries.

see also: 
Henri Cartier-Bresson. Germany, 1945


620. HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Henri Matisse, Vence, 1944.
Gelatin silver print.

621. HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. Sunday on the Banks of the Marne, 1938.
Gelatin silver print.

622. BRASSAI. Avenue de I'Observatoire (Paris in the Fog at Night), 1934.
Gelatin silver print. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Warner Communications, Inc., Purchase Fund, 1980.

BRASSAI (see collection)

(b Brasso, Transylvania, Hungary [now Romania], 9 Sept 1899; d Nice, 8 July 1984).

French photographer, draughtsman, sculptor and writer of Hungarian birth. The son of a Hungarian professor of French literature, he lived in Paris in 1903–4 while his father was on sabbatical there, and this early experience of the city greatly impressed him. In 1917 he met the composer Bйla Bartуk, and from 1918 to 1919 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. Due to the hostility between Hungary and France in World War I he was unable to study in France and so moved to Berlin in late 1920. There he became acquainted with Lбszlу Moholy-Nagy, Kandinsky and Kokoschka and in 1921–2 attended the Akademische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin. He was a keen draughtsman and while there produced a series of characteristic drawings of nudes executed in an angular, emphatic style. In 1924 he moved to Paris, where he quickly became involved with the artists and poets of the Montmartre and Montparnasse districts while supporting himself as a journalist. In 1925 he adopted the name Brassaп, derived from that of his native town, and throughout that year he continued drawing as well as making sculptures. In 1926 he met Andrй Kertйsz, who introduced him to photography. In 1930 Brassaп began taking photographs of Paris at night, concentrating on its architecture and the nocturnal activities of its inhabitants. These were collected and published as Paris de nuit in 1933 and showed the night workers, cafйs, brothels, theatres, streets and buildings of the capital. The artificial lighting created strong tonal contrasts, lending the images a strikingly evocative beauty. Some of his photographs were included in the exhibition Modern European Photographers at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1932, and the following year at the Arts et Mйtiers Graphiques in Paris he had a one-man show of his photographs of Paris, which travelled to the Batsford Gallery in London the same year.

623. BRASSAI. Bijou, Paris, c. 1933.
Gelatin silver print. Marlborough Gallery, New York.

624. WEEGEE (ARTHUR FELLIG). The Critic (Opening Night at the Opera), 1943.
Gelatin silver print. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

WEEGEE (ARTHUR FELLIG)  (see collection)

(b Zloczew, Austria [now Poland], 12 June 1899; d New York, 26 Dec 1968).

American photographer of Austrian birth. He emigrated to the USA in 1910 and took numerous odd jobs, including working as an itinerant photographer and as an assistant to a commercial photographer. In 1924 he was hired as a dark-room technician by Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos). He left, however, in 1935 to become a freelance photographer. He worked at night and competed with the police to be first at the scene of a crime, selling his photographs to tabloids and photographic agencies. It was at this time that he earned the name Weegee (appropriated from the Ouija board) for his uncanny ability to make such early appearances at scenes of violence and catastrophe.



625. ROBERT DOISNEAU. Three Children in the Park, 1971.
Gelatin silver print.

ROBERT DOISNEAU (see collection)

(b Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, 14 April 1912; d Paris, 1 April 1994).

French photographer. He attended the Ecole Estienne in Paris (1926–9), where he studied engraving, and after leaving the school he had various jobs designing engraved labels and other items. He found his training of little use, however, and soon began to experiment with photography, teaching himself the techniques. In 1931 he worked as an assistant to the photographer Andrй Vigneau. The following year Doisneau’s series of photographs of a flea market in Paris was published in the periodical Excelsior. His early photographs have many of the features of his mature works: for example the seeming unawareness of the camera shown by the people in Sunday Painter (1932; ) and the comic subject both add to the photograph’s charm, a quality Doisneau valued greatly. In 1934 he obtained a job as an industrial photographer at the Renault factory in Billancourt, Paris, where he was required to take photographs of the factory interior and its machines as well as advertising shots of the finished cars. In the summer of 1939 he was dismissed for being repeatedly late and then worked briefly for the Rapho photographic agency in Paris, producing more photographs of the capital.

see also: Robert Doisneau. The Kiss in Front of City Hall, 1950

ROBERT DOISNEAU. The Bouquet of Daffodils, 1950


626. IZIS. Place St. Andre des Arts, Paris, 1949.
Gelatin silver print. Zabriskie Gallery, New York.

627. EDOUARD BOUBAT. Portugal, 1958.
Gelatin silver print. Private collection.

A change in attitude toward the photographic print as a visual artifact accompanied the developments discussed so far. Many photographers, Brandt, Brassai, and Cartier-Bresson among them, refused to consider the photographs they produced as aesthetic objects despite the aesthetic judgments they obviously exercised in making them. The idea, promoted by individuals such as Paul Strand or Edward Weston, that the single print or small edition, sensitively crafted in the individual photographer's dark-room, constituted the paramount standard in expressive photography was challenged when these photographers began to use professional laboratories to process negatives and make prints. With the separation of the act of seec-ing from the craft of making, there emerged a new aesthetic posture that accepted grainy textures, limited tonal scale, and strong, often harsh contrasts as qualities intrinsic to the photographic medium. This development broughtimages originally meant for reproduction in periodicals into prominence as aesthetic objects—suitable for savoring in books, hanging on walls, or collecting.

Public acceptance of photojournalism influenced the publication of full-length works combining words and pictures. Aside from the elegant, expensive books and portfolios that carried on the tradition of illustrating texts with original photographs, collotypes, or Woodburytypes (discussed in earlier chapters), publishers on both sides of the Atlantic and in Japan during the 1930s and 1940s increasingly used gravure, offset lithography, and halftone plates to reproduce photographs. Frequently organized around popular themes, books such as the several volumes on arts and monuments illustrated by Pierre Jahan treated image and text in a manner similar to that found in the essays in picture magazines. Starting in the 1950s, when photojournalistic as well as artistic photographs began to appear more frequently on gallery and museum walls and in collections, publishers seemed more willing to issue books in which the photographs were their own justification. Almost 25 years separate The World Is Beautiful (1928), by Albert Renger-Patzsch, from Carrier-Bresson's Images a la sauvette (The Decisive Moment) (1952), and in addition to revealing their photographers' antithetical aesthetic ideas and ways of working, the two books represent somewhat different attitudes toward the purpose of photography books. The earlier work utilizes the photograph to point the reader toward concordances of form in nature and industry, whereas The Decisive Moment refers to the intervention of the individual photographer's hand and eye to reveal what Carder-Bresson called "a rhythm in the world of real things." The commercial success of The Decisive Moment indicated to publishers that photogra-phers images were marketable, and this helped encourage a large literature on and about the medium. From the 1960s on, many more tides in photography appeared, issued by such specialized publishers as Aperture and David R. Godine in the United States, and Teriade, Delpire, and later, Creatis and Schirmer Mosel in Europe, several of whom also issued periodicals and works on the aesthetics of the medium.

Pictures in Print: Advertising

It would be difficult to imagine a world without advertising and ads without photographs, but the importance of camera images in this context was not widely recognized before the 1920s. The advertising field itself was young then, and the problems and expense of halftone reproduction effectively limited the use of photographs to sell goods and services. Nor were the visual possibilities of transforming factual camera records into images of seductive suggestibility clearly foreseen. But during the early 1920s the situation began to change. The British journal Commercial Art and Industry noted in 1923 that photography had become "so inexpensive and good" that it should be used more often in ads, and the American trade magazine Printers' Ink pointed out the "astounding improvement in papers, presses and inks." Six years later, die prestigious German printing-arts magazine Gebrauchsgraphik prophesied that the photograph would soon dominate advertising communication and "present an extraordinarily fruitful field to the gifted artist" because whether distorted or truthful., camera images are grounded in reality and are consequently persuasive to buyers. By 1929, advertising had become "the agent of new processes of thought and creation," and photographs would play a central role in this creative upsurge.

The new attitudes were the result of a number of factors. As indicated in the preceding chapter, public taste after World War I tended toward styles that suggested objectivity rather than sentimentality; a popular appetite for machine-made rather than handmade objects had developed; and delight in the cinema as a form of visual communication predisposed the public to accept still photographs in advertising. Most important, the realization that the camera could be both factual and persuasive and could imply authenticity while suggesting certain qualities—manliness, femininity, luxury—made it a desirable tool in this fast-growing and competitive field. In a Utopian effort to make excellence available to all by wiping out the distinctions between fine and applied art and between art and the utilitarian object, Bauhaus and Constructivist artists and photographers had promoted the camera image as a means of transcending these traditional divisions. As a result, many photographers in the 1920s began to ignore the division between self-expression and commercial work that the Pictorialists had been at pains to establish around the turn of the century. The advertising industry in all advanced capitalist countries embraced these concepts from the art world and also predicted that advertising would improve the aesthetic taste of the populace by integrating the latest modern ideas into visual communication.

During the 1930s, many photographers of stature produced images for commerce. Herbert Bayer, Cecil Beaton, Laure Albin-Guillot, Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, Paul Outerbridge, Charles Sheeler, Steichen, and Maurice Tabard were among those eager to work on commission for magazines, advertising agencies, and manufacturers at the same time that they photographed for themselves and were honored as creative individuals by critics. A number — including Hans Finsler, Bourke-White, Anton Bruehl, Victor Keppler, and Nickolas Muray—worked almost exclusively in the advertising field, convinced that they were making a creative contribution to photography in addition to selling products. In the Far East, Japanese commercial photographers kept abreast of the modernist style, employing close-ups, angled shots, and montages, exemplified by Smile Eye-Drops (pi. no. 628), a 1930 ad by Kiyoshi Koishi third-place winner in the First Annual Advertising Photography Exhibition held in Japan in that year.

This honeymoon between photographer and commercial patron was relatively short-lived. Even though Steichen thought such patronage to be the equivalent of the Medici's support for Renaissance artists, "the purely material subject matter" with which most advertising photographers had to deal could not be considered comparable to Renaissance religion and philosophy, as Outerbridge observed. Nevertheless, commercial commissions have continued to make a substantial impact on photography, affecting not only the kinds of images produced and the taste of the public but also, to some extent, the materials on the market with which all photographers must work.

Sources and influences in advertising photography are difficult to sort out because from the start Americans and Europeans looked to each other for inspiration, with Europeans envious of the munificence of advertising bud-gets on this side of the Atlantic and Americans aware of the greater freedom for experimentation in Europe. However, no matter where they were produced, the most visually arresting images reflect the ascendant stylistic tendencies in the visual arts in general. One wellspring in the United States was the Clarence White School of Photography. Its curriculum is only now being studied, but its significant contribution to the modernization of advertising photography can be seen in the roll call of faculty and students who became active in die field during the 1920s and '30s. Bruehl, Bourke -White, Outerbridge, Ralph Steiner, and Margaret Watkins translated the design precepts taught in the school into serviceable modernistic imagery, as can be seen in an image for an ad prepared by Watkins in 1925 for the J. Walter Thompson Agency (pi. no. 629).

628. KIYOSHI KOISHI. Smile Eye-Drops, 1930.
Halftone reproduction.

629. MARGARET WATKINS. Phenix Cheese (for J. Walter Thompson), 1925.
Gelatin silver print. Light Gallery, New York.

As might be expected, the style associated with the New Objectivity, with its emphasis on "the thing itself," was of paramount interest. Finsler in Germany, Tabard and the Studio Deberney-Peignot in France, and Steichen in the United States all realized (as did others) that the close-up served as an excellent vehicle to concentrate attention on intrinsic material qualities and to eliminate extraneous matters. One consequence of this emphasis, as an article on advertising photography in the late 1930s noted, is that "the softness of velvet appears even richer and deeper than it actually is and iron becomes even harder"; in addition, lighting and arrangement were further manipulated to glamorize the product. Nor were close-ups limited to inanimate still lifes or the products of machines; a view of hands engaged in the precise task of threading a needle (pi. no. 630), photographed by Bruehl as part of a campaign for men's suits, was meant to suggest the care, quality, and handwork (still a sign of luxury goods) that ostensibly went into this line of men's wear. The provocative nature of bizarre imagery for advertising also was recognized. French commercial photographer Lucien Lorelle suggested that it provided the "shock" needed to "give birth to the acquisitive desire." Startling views of ordinary objects were obtained by selecting extreme angles, by using abstract light patterns, and by montaging disparate objects. Just before 1930, photograms found their way into European advertising in works by Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, and Piet Zwart, which were pro-duced for an electrical concern, an optical manufacturer, and a radio company, respectively. Montages by Finsler and Bayer were used to sell chocolate and machinery, while distorted views of writing ink by Lissitzky for Pelikan and of automobile tires by Tabard for Michclin were considered acceptable. Americans, on the other hand, were warned away from excessive distortion. Product pictures by Bruehl, Muray (pi. no. 631), Outerbridge, Steichen (pi. no. 579), and Ralph Steiner (pi. no. 580) are essentially precise still lifes of recognizable objects. Even the dramatic angles chosen by Bourke-White to convey the sweep and power of large-scale American industrial machinery were selected with regard for the clarity of the forms being presented. Eventually, when montages and multiple images did enter American advertising vocabulary, these techniques were used for fashion and celebrity images and only after World War II for more prosaic consumer goods.

Most advertising images in the United States (and elsewhere) were not conceived in the modernist idiom by any means. Heavily retouched, banal photographic illustrations filled the mail-order catalogs issued by Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, while the advertising pages of popular magazines and trade journals were full of ordinary and often silly or sentimental concoctions. However, some very competent work was done by individuals working in an old-fashioned vein. The highly acclaimed arrangements photographed by Lejaren a Hiller (see Chapter 8) required historically researched costumes and construction of sets in addition to careful attention to lighting. While technically a photograph, tableaux such as Surgery Through the Ages (pi. no. 632), part of a campaign for a pharmaceutical company, are really forerunners of contemporary video advertising in that they rely on theatrical and dramatic content rather than aesthetic means to get their message across.

After the second World War, a number of photo-journalists continued to be involved with an amalgam of advertising imagery and journalistic reporting that had made its initial appearance in the feature sections of Fortune in the 1930s. Even during the nadir of the Depression, articles illustrated with well-reproduced, stylish photo-graphs and signed artwork "sold" the positive aspects of the American corporate structure; indeed, Bourke-White felt that "the grandeur of industry," which she pictured for Fortune's pages, exerted the same appeal on manufacturer and photographer alike. While she herself revised this opinion, and later photojournalists may not have been as sanguine about the benefits of large-scale industrial enterprises, photographing for the broad range of print media that emerged after the war made it necessary for photographers to present "clear, coherent and vivid" pictures of business activities. As a result, the glossy corporate image that appears in annual reports in the guise of photojournalistic reporting has come down as one of the legacies of photojournalism to advertising and an example of the difficulties in categorizing contemporary photographs.

An important aspect of the alluring quality of current advertising images is the use of color. By 1925, according to the British graphic arts magazine Penrose's Annual, the public had come to expect "coloured covers and illustrations [in] ... books and magazines . . . posters . . . showcards . . . catalogues, booklets and all forms of commercial advertising." Even so, the desire for such materials did not immediately produce accurate and inexpensive color images on film or printed page; it was not until the late 1930s that both amateurs and professionals obtained negatives, positive transparencies, and prints with the capacity to render a seductive range of values and colors in natural and artificial light (See A Short Technical History, Part III). Even though these materials were flawed by their impermanence—as they still are—such means were acceptable because their use in print media satisfied the public craving for color.

A method commonly used to create color images for advertisements during the Depression was the tri-chrome/carbro print, made from separation negatives produced in a repeating-back camera such as the Ives Kromskop. Based on the addition of dyes to gelatin carbon printing methods, carbro printing was a highly complicated procedure involving as many as 80 different steps; but despite the expense and the special facilities required, it flourished because "the commercial aspects of color were as important as the aesthetic or technical angles" in determining the kind of color work that publishers and agencies, competing for a limited market, favored. Conde Nast was one of die first publishers to print the richly hued advertising photographs by Bruehl and Fernand Bourges in Vogue in 1932. In the mid-1930s, the Bruehl-Bourges studio did color work for a range of product manufacturers reading like a veritable who's who of American corporations, while Will Connell, Lejaren a Hiller, Keppler, Muray, Outerbridge, Valentine Sarra, and H. I. Williams also were active in working out eye-catching spectrums for ads for food (pi. no. 631), fashion, and manufactured goods that appeared in House Beautiful and similar magazines.

There can be little argument that in modern capitalist societies the camera has proved to be an absolutely indispensable tool for the makers of consumer goods, for those involved with public relations and for those who sell ideas and services. Camera images have been able to make invented "realities" seem not at all fraudulent and have permitted viewers to suspend disbelief while remaining aware that the scene has been contrived." The availability of sophisticated materials and apparatus, of good processing facilities, and the fact that large numbers of proficient photographers graduate yearly from art schools and technical institutions, combined with the generous budgets allocated for advertising, guarantee a high level of excellence in contemporary advertising images (pi. nos. 633 and 634). As in the past, the photographs deemed exceptional often reflect current stylistic ideas embraced in the arts as a whole and in personally expressive photography in particular; indeed, the dividing line between styles in advertising and in personal expression can be a thin one, with a number of prominent figures working with equal facility in both areas.

The imagination that inspired early enthusiasts (such as Brodoviteh) to foresee in advertising a great creative force is less evident in contemporary advertising photography. Whether picturing industrial equipment or luxury goods, the fact is that for the most part the style and con-tent of such images are controlled by the manufacturer and ad agency, and not by the individual photographer. Designed to attract the greatest number of viewers, there is little compass for personal approach, while the images that are considered exceptional tend to generate considerable emulation. The bland sameness that characterizes the field has been more true of advertising imagery in the United States than in Europe, owing to the larger budgets and greater role that advertising plays in American life, but it also reflects the fact that in the past there was more leeway in Europe for visual experimentation in applied photography and graphic design.


630. ANTON BRUEHL. Hands Threading a Needle (Weber and Heilbroner Advertising Campaign), c. 1929.
Gelatin silver print. International Museum of Photography, Rochester, N.Y.

631. NICKOLAS MURAY. Still Life, 1943.
Reproduced in McCall's Magazine. Carbro (assembly) print.
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

NICKOLAS MURAY (see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Nickolas Muray (15 February 1892 - 2 November 1965) was a Hungarian-born American photographer.
Muray attended a graphic arts school in Budapest, where he studied lithography, photoengraving, and photography. After earning an International Engraver's Certificate, Muray took a three-year course in color photoengraving in Berlin, where, among other things, he learned to make color filters. At the end of his course he went to work for the publishing company Ullstein. In 1913, with the threat of war in Europe, Muray sailed to New York City, and was able to find work as a color printer in Brooklyn.
By 1920, Muray had opened a portrait studio at his home in Greenwich Village, while still working at his union job as an engraver. In 1921 he received a commission from Harper's Bazaar to do a portrait of the Broadway actor Florence Reed; soon after he was having photographs published each month in Harper's Bazaar, and was able to give up his engraving job.
Muray quickly became recognized as an important portrait photographer, and his subjects included most of the celebrities of New York City. In 1926, Vanity Fair sent Muray to London, Paris, and Berlin to photograph celebrities, and in 1929 hired him to photograph movie stars in Hollywood. He also did fashion and advertising work. Muray's images were published in many other publications, including Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, and The New York Times.
Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits. His 1938's portrait of Frida Kahlo, made while Kahlo sojourned in New York, attending her exhibit at the Julien Levy Gallery, became the best known and loved portrait made by Muray. Muray and Kahlo were at the height of a ten-year love affair in 1939 when the portrait was made. Their affair had started in 1931, after Muray was divorced from his second wife and shortly after Kahlo's marriage to Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera. It outlived Muray's third marriage and Kahlo's divorce and remarriage to Rivera by one year, ending in 1941. Muray wanted to marry, but when it became apparent that Kahlo wanted Muray as a lover, not a husband, Muray took his leave for good and married his fourth wife. He and Kahlo remained good friends until her death, in 1954.
After the market crash, Murray turned away from celebrity and theatrical portraiture, and become a pioneering commercial photographer, famous for his creation of many of the conventions of color advertising. He was considered the master or the carbro process. His last important public portraits were of Dwight David Eisenhower in the 1950s.

NICKOLAS MURAY. Camel cigarettes, Girl in pool, 1936


632. LEJAREN A HILLER. Hugh of Lucca (d. 1251) from the Surgery Through the Ages Series,
(Pharmaceutical advertising campaign) 1937.
Gelatin silver print. Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, N.Y.

633. JAY MAISEL. United Technologies, 1982.
Advertisement. Art Director, Gordon Bowman. Copywriters,
Gordon Bowman/Christine Rothenberg.

634. RICHARD AVEDON. The Veiled Reds, 1978.

RICHARD AVEDON  (see collection)

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American photographer. Avedon was able to take his early success in fashion photography and expand it into the realm of fine art.
Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish-Russian family. After briefly attending Columbia University, he started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of the crewmen with his Rolleiflex camera given to him by his father as a going-away present. In 1944, he began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. In 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life. He soon became the chief photographer for Harper's Bazaar. Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, Avedon showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action.
In 1966, Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to work as a staff photographer for Vogue magazine. In addition to his continuing fashion work, Avedon began to branch out and photographed patients of mental hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the Vietnam War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
During this period Avedon also created two famous sets of portraits of The Beatles. The first, taken in mid to late 1967, became one of the first major rock poster series, and consisted of five striking psychedelic portraits of the group — four heavily solarised individual colour portraits (solarisation of prints by his assistant, Gideon Lewin, retouching by Bob Bishop) and a black-and-white group portrait taken with a Rolleiflex camera and a normal Planar lens. The next year he photographed the much more restrained portraits that were included with The White Album in 1968.
Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject. As his reputation as a photographer became widely known, he brought in many famous faces to his studio and photographed them with a large-format 8x10 view camera. His portraits are easily distinguished by their minimalist style, where the person is looking squarely in the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. Among the many rock bands photographed by Avedon, in 1973 he shot Electric Light Orchestra with all the members exposing their bellybuttons for recording, On the Third Day.
He is also distinguished by his large prints, sometimes measuring over three feet in height. His large-format portrait work of drifters, miners, cowboys and others from the western United States became a best-selling book and traveling exhibit entitled In the American West, and is regarded as an important hallmark in 20th Century portrait photography, and by some as Avedon's magnum opus. Commissioned by the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, it was a six-year project Avedon embarked on in 1979, that produced 125 portraits of people in the American west who caught Avedon's eye.
Avedon was drawn to working people such as miners and oil field workers in their soiled work clothes, unemployed drifters, and teenagers growing up in the West circa 1979-84. When first published and exhibited, In the American West was criticized for showing what some considered to be a disparaging view of America. Avedon was also lauded for treating his subjects with the attention and dignity usually reserved for the politically powerful and celebrities. Laura Wilson served as Avedon's assistant during the creation of In the American West and in 2003 published a photo book documenting the experiences, Avedon at Work, In the American West.
Avedon became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992. He has won many awards for his photography, including the International Center of Photography Master of Photography Award in 1993, the Prix Nadar in 1994 for his photobook Evidence, and the Royal Photographic Society 150th Anniversary Medal in 2003.

In 1944, Avedon married Dorcas Nowell, who later became a model and was known professionally as Doe Avedon. Nowell and Avedon divorced after five years of marriage. In 1951, he married Evelyn Franklin; their marriage produced one son, John. Avedon and Franklin also later divorced.
Martial arts movie star Loren Avedon is the nephew of Richard Avedon.
On October 1, 2004, he suffered a brain hemorrhage in San Antonio, Texas while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker. At the time of his death, Avedon was working on a new project titled On Democracy to focus on the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

Hollywood presented a fictional account of his early career in the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire as the fashion photographer "Dick Avery." Avedon supplied some of the still photographs used in the production, including its most famous single image: an intentionally overexposed close-up of Audrey Hepburn's face in which only her famous features - her eyes, her eyebrows, and her mouth - are visible.
Hepburn was Avedon's muse in the 1950s and 60s, going as far to say "I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her ultimate portrait."



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