Last Winter, I saw the Avedon exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It was a wonderful exhibit, and very inspiring. I saw it with my friend who is working as a fashion photographer. He recently got a great internship with a local magazine. He's taken my photo many times. You can see some of his work here and here. Avedon has a style all his own, and he was very ground breaking in many ways. Its amazing when you see his work, and then realize he never used a digital camera. It was all film, and his developing techniques that created his unique look.
I knew he had photographed the Kennedy family, and was so happy to find that The Smithsonian has published a book of this photo session. The Kennedy's: Portrait of a Family contains many of the photos shot sometime between November of 1960 and Inauguration Day in January of 1961. The book is great because it really explains some of his techniques and shows examples of how he would manipulate pictures to capture the "psychology" of the "sitter".
These images were used for Harper's Bazaar and Look magazine. Here are some of my favorites:
The book mentioned that JFK felt as though the morning spent posing for photos was a "waste", as he wasn't certain he liked the results. Avedon agreed that he wasn't really able to get photos of JFK where he was able to break the exterior and get behind the man. Jackie was quoted as explaining that her husband looked best in photos where he was speaking to a crowd, and not posed portraits. In posed portraits he appeared "too stiff". I think the photos of Jackie are some of her most beautiful. Especially the last one of her photographed in her "Pre-Inaugural gown" designed by Oleg Cassini.
Many of the contact sheets and developed photographs were donated to The Smithsonian by Richard Avedon. I personally cannot wait to visit D.C. and The Smithsonian, so I can see these photos up close along with Jackie's Inaugural gown and other presidential artifacts.
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