Richard Avedon was an American fashion and portrait photographer. His obituary that was published in The New York Times said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”.
He was born in New York May 15, 1923. When he was young, he used to use his families Kodak Box Brownie, and he considers his younger sister, who suffered from schizophrenia, his first muse.
He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in Bedford Park, Bronx, where he worked on the school paper, The Magpie, with James Baldwin from 1937 until 1940. He enrolled at Columbia University to study philosophy and poetry but dropped out after one year. He then started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines, taking ID shots of the crewmen. From 1944 to 1950, Avedon studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch at his Design Laboratory at The New School for Social Research.
In 1946, he opened up his own studio and provided images for Vogue and Life magazine. In 1962, he joined Vogue magazine as a staff photographer. He eventually became lead photographer and has photographed every cover from 1973 to 1988. His work with Gianni Versace advertisements, and his work with Calvin Klein are some of his most notable work.
In addition to his continuing fashion work, he also branched out into photographing patients of mental hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the Vietnam War, and later the fall of the Berlin Wall. His subjects has included people from Andy Warhol, to Dwight D. Eisenhower. His usage of large prints, sometimes over 3ft tall, made him standout amongst other photographers.