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Richard Avedon (born 1923)
Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (New York)
Who Has a Better Right to Oppose the War? 1969
offset lithograph
96 x 61 cm (37 4/5 x 24 in.)
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
© 1969 Richard Avedon

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Biography of Richard Avedon

Born in New York City, Richard Avedon studied at the New School for Social Research. One of the best-known photographers in the United States, he began working for Harper's Bazaar in 1945 and has published his work in numerous other magazines, such as Vogue and Life. He has also done extensive advertising work for a wide variety of commercial firms, including Chanel, General Motors, and Proctor & Gamble. Much of Avedon's work has been in fashion photography, in which he has been a pioneering creative force. However, he is also known for his direct, emotionally powerful portraits of some of this century's most important public figures, from Andy Warhol to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

These portraits often show the subject bathed in a blanketing white light, with little or no background setting, thus eliminating extraneous detail that might detract from an immediate perception of the sitter's attitude. Avedon frequently includes the black outlines of the original negative in his prints, utilizing them as a compositional tool as well as to document the photographer's relationship to his subject. His portraits are enduring symbols of the 1960s both in content and formal terms.

Retrospective exhibitions of Avedon's work have been presented at the Marlborough Galleries in New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in addition to a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1958 he was voted one of the world's ten best photographers by Popular Photography magazine. Among Avedon's numerous honors is a first-place Clio award for television advertising in 1974. His contributions to the field of graphic design earned him a Certificate of Excellence from the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1988.

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