Richard Avedon was an American photographer. An obituary 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”
Hollywood presented a fictional account of his early career in the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire as the fashion photographer “Dick Avery.” Avedon supplied some of the still photographs used in the production, including its most famous single image: an intentionally overexposed close-up of Audrey Hepburn’s face in which only her famous features – her eyes, her eyebrows, and her mouth – are visible.
Hepburn was Avedon’s muse in the 1950s and 1960s, and he went so far as to say “I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her ultimate portrait.”
Avedon died of a brain haemorrhage in San Antonio, Texas, while shooting an assignment for The New Yorker in October, 2004.
“Woman sunbathing” (1935) by Martin Munkácsi. Munkácsi was a newspaper writer and photographer in Hungary, specializing in sports. At the time, sports action photography could only be done in bright light outdoors. Munkácsi’s innovation was to make sports photographs as meticulously composed action photographs, which required both artistic and technical skill.
On March 21, 1933, he photographed the aged President Paul von Hindenburg handing Germany over to Adolf Hitler. On assignment for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, he photographed Hitler’s inner circle, ironically because he was a Jew and a foreigner.
Munkácsi left for New York after Hitler closed the magazine, where he signed on, for a substantial $100,000, with Harper’s Bazaar, a top fashion magazine. Innovatively, he often left the studio to shoot outdoors, on the beach, on farms and fields, at an airport. He produced one of the first articles illustrated with nude photographs in a popular magazine.
His portraits include Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Howard, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Jane Russell, Louis Armstrong, and the definitive dance photograph of Fred Astaire.