Sunday, August 15, 2010

Snap judgments

Artcle here about Richard Avedon, whose work is being exhibited at the MFA. I must confess he's an artist it's been difficult for me to warm up to. That kind of difficulty runs the risk of personal growth.

This is largely because he was so much of his time, place, and social circle in ways in which it's difficult for me to identify. He was a very good-looking man all through his life, and he made his living by taking pictures of other pretty people in chic (translation: Go out there and sell! Sell! Sell!) clothes. He went to a therapist more often than I go to the dentist. Said therapist has since bought his own island, and you can be executed for visiting it without a written invitation. Plus he directed those eighties Calvin Klein ads with models staring into the distance and sputing inane prose poetry.

Yet there is quite a bit to admire in him and his work. While he worked within a framework--a very commercial one at that--he found a method that worked for him as it wouldn't for anyone else. He created his own discipline. Important, that. And while he followed his muse through places I wouldn't follow, it did lead to some interesting destinations.

And some of those destinations were off the beaten path for a New York fashion photographer. As seen here, he exposed some places and people in rural and interior America that were unknown twenty miles away. Including a guy who let bees crawl all over him. How hardcore is that?


susan said...

I just looked at all the western shots and read the text. It's truly an amazing piece of work. I guess when a person really goes all the way out to the end of a limb with their work the only thing left to do is turn around and saw through the branch.

Ben said...

Wow. I like the way you put that.