A cold December outdoors session in Columbus Circle with an experienced model is a perfect way to spend a winter afternoon. While warming up after our brief and chilly collaboration, I asked my subject about her career which started before I was born.
She told me that she had worked with Avedon. I asked if there was anything about me that reminded her of Avedon.
She curtly said, “no dear.”
Richard Avedon was a legendary twentieth-century photographer. He was influential in both commercial and fine art photography in a way that few artists have matched and none have surpassed.
His personal fame often eclipsed that of his world-renowned subjects. The volume and creativity of his artistic output was astounding. He worked until his last day on Earth. In fact, he died while on assignment at age 81.
I’ve always admired his work and unsurprisingly, I dove into a recent biography about his life written by his business manager who was as close to him as anyone.
I didn’t make it very far with the book. To me, the literary description of the man I admired from afar was not pretty. This artist that created such beauty was also cruel, petty and vindictive.
So when my subject Susannah said there’s nothing about me that reminds her of Avedon, I just nodded and thanked her for her candor.
I secretly hope that she is right.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer specializing in creating environmental on-location portraits and corporate photo libraries for blue chip companies.