Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light

Looking at the work of the late Richard Avedon is a humbling experience. His portraits are the work of an exacting technician, a humanitarian, a true artist, and a cruel, neurotic genius. The 1995 documentary Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light gives comprehensive insight into what a unique visionary he was - and how he was definitely the kind of person you'd want to party with. If you can get your hands on this, it's definitely worth a look.

(FYI, I hear that Bob Mercer screens this doc in the SFU course CMNS 375 Magazine Publishing)

Avedon delivers quote-worthy sound bites here that inspire you to take pictures--or at the very least, look up his work and discover what a great force he was in American photography for more than 50 years. His work extends far beyond the fashion photography and handful or portraits we know him for today.

We've all seen his work, and you probably didn't even know it. If you've ever looked at the liner notes for the Beatles White Album, or 1, then you've seen Avedon's photography. This 2008 post from perpenduum.com looks at the influences of Lartigue and Avedon on the work of Wes Anderson, particularly in The Royal Tenenbaums.

Here's some great trivia facts to take to your next social event involving art or film snobs:

* An Avedon-style photo of actor Owen Wilson, in imitation of Avedon's American West photo of Boyd Fortin holding a disemboweled snake, was used in a prop for the film The Royal Tenenbaums; Wilson's mother Laura Wilson was a close assistant to Avedon.

* This famous (and fantastic) cast photo was taken by Richard Avedon:

A clip from Richard Avedon: Light and Darkness

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