Richard Avedon

Richard
Avedon
1923
2004

American Photographer

Author Quotes

Youth never moves me. I seldom see anything very beautiful in a young face. I do, though - - in the downward curve of Maugham’s lips, in Isak Dinesen’s hands. So much has been written there, there is so much to be read, if one could only read. I feel most of the people in my book, Observations, are earthly saints. Because they are obsessed, obsessed with work of one sort or another. To dance, to be beautiful, tell stories, solve riddles, perform in the street. Zavattini’s mouth and Escudero’s eyes, the smile of Marie-Louise Bousquet: they are sermons on bravado.

The pictures have a reality for me that the people don’t. It is through the photographs that I know them.

When the sitting is over, I feel kind of embarrassed about what we’ve shared. It’s so intense. Snapshots that have been taken of me working show something I was not aware of at all, that over and over again I’m holding my own body or my own hands exactly like the person I’m photographing. I never knew I did that, and obviously what I’m doing is trying to feel, actually physically feel, the way he or she feels at the moment I’m photographing them in order to deepen the sense of connection.

The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion.

There’s always been a separation between fashion and what I call my “deeper” work. Fashion is where I make my living. I’m not knocking it. It’s a pleasure to make a living that way. It’s pleasure, and then there’s the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits. It’s not important what I consider myself to be, but I consider myself to be a portrait photographer.

Photography has always reminded me of the second child.. trying to prove itself. The fact that it wasn’t really considered an art… that it was considered a craft... has trapped almost every serious photographer.

Real people move, they bear with them the element of time. It is this fourth dimension of people that I try to capture in a photograph.

I've photographed just about everyone in the world. But what I hope to do is photograph people of accomplishment, not celebrity, and help define the difference once again.

My parents put the New Yorker in my crib. I saw Vogue and Vanity Fair around the house before I could read.

People - running from unhappiness, hiding in power - are locked within their reputations, ambitions, beliefs.

I've worked out of a series of no's. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no's force me to the yes. I have a white background. I have the person I'm interested in and the thing that happens between us.

I'm beginning to feel like this. Caught the incredible sunshine just in the nick of time today on my walk. The wall of rain approaching from the west desert was pretty spectacular, too. along with being gorgeous, it was sooo muddy which made driving home in no shoes so very fun :) if only i could post photos here! a picture is worth a thousand words, yes?

I was overwhelmed. Mrs. Vreeland kept calling me Aberdeen and asking me if a wedding dress didn’t make me want to cry. They’re all serious, hardworking people—they just speak a different language.

If you’re headed for a life that’s only involved with making money and that you hope for satisfaction somewhere else, you’re headed for a lot of trouble. And whatever replaces vodka when you’re 45 is what you’re going to be doing.

I see pictures of myself and I always knew that what I was feeling didn't look like that guy in the pictures.

I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible.

I hate cameras. They interfere; they’re always in the way. I wish: if I could just work with my eyes alone. To get a satisfactory print, one that contains all that you intended, is very often more difficult and dangerous than the sitting itself. When I’m photographing, I immediately know when I’ve got the image I really want. But to get the image out of the camera and into the open, is another matter.

I am only stimulated by people, never by ideas, almost never. It is always an emotional response. It is always an emotional response. It is always between myself and myself and another person

Faces are the ledgers of our experience.

Fashion is where I make my living. I'm not knocking it; it's a pleasure to make a living that way. Then there's the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits.

How many pictures have you torn up because you hate them? What ends up in your scrapbook? The pictures where you look like a good guy and a good family man, and the children look adorable - and they're screaming the next minute. I've never seen a family album of screaming people.

Camera lies all the time. It's all it does is lie, because when you choose this moment instead of this moment, when you... the moment you've made a choice, you're lying about something larger. 'Lying' is an ugly word. I don't mean lying. But any artist picks and chooses what they want to paint or write about or say. Photographers are the same.

Click! In other words, I'm in a very controlling position, and I can bring... and I've already... if the camera's on you, your face is very concentrated. You're listening. You don't know what I'm going to say next, and now you're smiling. All these things are the things I work with.

Any artist picks and chooses what they want to paint or write about or say. Photographers are the same.

Anything is an art if you do it at the level of an art.

Author Picture
First Name
Richard
Last Name
Avedon
Birth Date
1923
Death Date
2004
Bio

American Photographer