“doing something related to photography”

June 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

“If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.”

–Richard Avedon

OK, it’s just silverware in the kitchen sink. But keeping a camera close by means that I can do “something related to photography” almost every day, even when cleaning up after dinner!

Richard Avedon (1923-2004) was one of the top fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th century. In 1947, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar sent him to Paris to photograph French fashion just as it was beginning to emerge from the war. Avedon was among the first fashion photographers to take the models out of the studio and into the street. Before that time, fashion photography was mostly done with large, tripod-mounted cameras and banks of lights, which meant that the poses tended to be quite stiff. But after the war, smaller cameras meant that both the photographer and the model could move around and not be confined to the studio. Avedon showed women in motion, exploring Paris, being active and engaged with the world. You can see all of this taking place in the movie “Funny Face,” which is modeled on Avedon’s experience in Paris (although I’m pretty sure he didn’t dance like Fred Astaire!). At the beginning of the film, the Avedon/Astaire character is using huge cameras. By the end, he and his models are moving freely, using Paris as a backdrop for a new kind of photography that expressed the freshness and optimism of the postwar years.

Panasonic FZ35

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