Archive for October 2013

Our humanity through the lens – Richard Avedon at the National Portrait Gallery Canberra

Last week I got down to the Nation’s Capital and visited People, the current Richard Avedon show and the first exhibition of his work in Australia.

Avedon’s career spanned many decades and he photographed some  of the best known figures of the day. He worked for Harper’s Bazaar during the 1940s, and developed a minimalist aesthetic using a stark white featureless background. This was avant-garde for the day and became his signature.

There were some iconic images there – Twiggy in a back-revealing dress; Elizabeth Taylor, young and so voluptuous, surrounded by the curves of a cock -feather hat.

 

Avedon, Richard_Elizabeth Taylor_cock feathes by Anello of Emme_1964

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Taylor, cock feathers by Enello of Emme, 1964.

Avedon created technically marvelous portraits, so I’m told. They certainly looked  clear and interestingly composed. My favourites included four separate images of poignantly young and serious men who were known as the Beatles, and an image of Warhol with Candy Darling and Jay Johnson from 1969. He had several of people with their eyes closed, which seems to give the viewer a voyeuristic license somehow.

Avedon, Richard_Andy Warhol with Candy Darling and Jay Johnson_1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Warhol with Candy Darling and Jay Johnson, 1969

 

A magnificent Marian Anderson, the first Afro-American to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera. She is all hair, lips, jewellery and he captured her whilst she was singing for him in 1955

Avedon, Richard_MARIAN ANDERSON_1955

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marian Anderson, 1955.

 

There was also a magnificent, and again painfully young Nureyev – lean, hard with an enormous cock.

 

Avedon, Richard_rudolph nureyev  1961