As we dwindle down the list of our top 100 fashion photography books, it gets more and more difficult to put them in any specific order. This week’s review is focused on one of the top fashion photographers of all time: Richard Avedon. The New York Times stated in Avedon’s obituary, “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.” and there is no doubt about that. Among the significant projects of the last year of his life, Richard Avedon completed a book of his photographs of women. Always transcending categorization-he was both a fashion photographer and known as a “poet of portraiture”-Avedon was interested in seeing how elemental facts of modern life and human existence were reflected in his work. And what could be more elemental than women, who have mesmerized artists across the centuries?
In this book, Woman in the Mirror, Avedon was able to create an unparalleled view of women in his time, a tumultuous half century of rapidly changing social facts, cultural ideals, popular styles, and high fashion. As an artist, Avedon was deeply responsive to nuances of expression, gesture, and comportment, and his photographs opened a window to the interior lives of his subjects. These ranged from celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, to artists like Marguerite Duras. Even high-fashion models like Suzy Parker and Dovima. You may recognize the iconic image of Dovima with Elephants in a stunning Dior gown. The book also includes anonymous people that simply drew his attention. Like the best of art and literature, they evoke rich lives and complex experiences.
Pick up a copy here