Photo Inspiration Richard Avedon

I went to the National Portrait Gallery this morning to see the Richard Avedon exhibition – great stuff, well worth getting along to see his amazing portraits.

Photo Inspiration: Richard Avedon exhibition at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

The work of Richard Avedon is perhaps most readily associated with intimate images of very famous people. These portraits of 20th century superstars are well known because they resist the idealisation of celebrity and reveal the humanness of revered individuals.

Richard Avedon exhibition at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Capturing their physical anomalies, their idiosyncratic gestures and their unguarded moments with a shameless clarity, Avedon fosters a sense of familiarity with the famous. And we love this candour in the same way that we enjoy referring to these people who we’ve never met by their first names: Marilyn, Andy, Twiggy; John, Paul, George and Ringo. (more: Richard Avedon: The existential lens – Stephen Zagala)

The Kennedys, JFK, John F Kennedy and Jackie O - Richard Avedon exhibition at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

From the start of his career, Richard Avedon’s name became synonymous with fashion as well as portraiture. He photographed everyone from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Parker and the Duchess of Windsor as well as a lot of “unknown” people.

Marilyn Monroe - Richard Avedon exhibition at National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Known for bringing the fashion models of the day, including Suzy Parker and Sunny Harnett, to life, Richard Avedon injected a previously unseen vibrancy into the medium of fashion photography. (more: Richard Avedon Biography by Jo Craven for Vogue UK)

All images © The Richard Avedon Foundation, New York.

This post was inspired by one of my Instagram images – are you on Instagram? Follow me at @redinstead and leave me your details in the comments below so that I can follow you too.


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Jen Leheny

Hello! I'm the owner, blogger, designer, photographer, maker at Red Instead in Canberra, Australia. I also have a photo portfolio at Jen Leheny Photography and there's some work info at jenleheny.com. I like to design and make things in my spare time, which I sell at the Red Instead Shop and at Trove Canberra. And in my other spare time, I rollerskate!