Richard Avedon is one of the most important photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. During a career that spanned 60 years, his portrait and fashion work defined the medium of photography. More than any other photographer he successfully worked to erase the distinction between photography and fine art, with early solo museum shows at The Smithsonian (1962) and the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Art (1970). In 1978, he became the first living photographer to be awarded a solo show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He had a second retrospective show there in 2002.
Born in New York City in 1923, Richard Avedon dropped out of DeWitt Clinton High School and joined the Merchant Marine during World War II. Upon discharge in 1944, he immediately found work at several magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, which published his earliest fashion and portrait work beginning in November of that year.
Throughout his life, Avedon maintained a unique style of portraiture that combined the rigor of the studio with the spontaneity of projects on location. Working sometimes for magazines, and often for his own account, he photographed portraits of people from every field and all walks of life.