“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Richard Avedon- Starting at a young age, this American fashion photographer was interested in the art of fashion. He joined the Young Men’s Hebrew Association Camera Club when he was twelve. His favorite photos to take when he was young was of his sister. He worked on his high school’s magazine and after dropping out of Colombia University in 1942, he became a photographer for the Merchant Marines. He studied photography at the New School for Social Research from 1944-1950. Avedon began working for Harper’s Bazaar in 1946. During the same year, he started providing photos for Vogue and Life magazines. In 1962, he became lead photographer for Vogue. He started photographing for Versace and Calvin Klein. He worked well and frequently with Brooke Shields and The Beatles. By the 1960s, he expanded his work from modeling and fashion to include civil rights workers and protesters for the Vietnam War. Avedon worked with famous people such as Marilyn Monroe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Andy Warhol. He loved capturing Audrey Hepburn in photos. His portraits are known for being simple and having the subject look straight into the camera. Avedon created a series for Christian Dior in 1982. In 1992, he became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. His collection titled In the American West is very well-known. Museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the International Center of Photography have including some of Avedon’s works. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1989, the National Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2003 as well as The Royal Photographic Society’s Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship. His legacy includes the Richard Avedon Foundation. He passed away in 2004.
Irving Penn- Even having the famous producer Arthur Penn as his brother, Irving Penn didn’t let that stop his talents from shining through. He studied art, including industrial, graphics, drawing, and painting at the University of the Arts. Harper’s Bazaar published some of Penn’s drawings while he was a student. In 1940, he became the art director at Saks Fifth Avenue. After a few years of working and traveling taking photographs, he became an associate for Vogue magazine’s Art Department. His first cover for the magazine appeared in 1943. Penn created his own studio in New York during the 1950s. He is best known for his fashion photography but also traveling photos and still lifes. Penn’s way of photographing paid attention to detail and organization. Some of his exhibitions locations are the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Photographer’s Gallery in London, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Books by Penn include Moments Preserved and A Notebook at Random. Penn worked with Clinique and photographed people such as Pablo Picasso. Irving Penn died in 2009 at the age of 92.
Helmut Newton- Born Jewish, Helmut Neustädter received his first camera at the age of twelve. Starting in 1936, he worked for German photographer Yva. When he turned eighteen, he was finally able to leave Germany. He was able to escape the Nazis and land in Singapore. He worked as a photographer for Straits Times. He arrived in Australia in 1940 and enlisted in the Australian Army two years later. He changed his last name in 1946. He created his first fashion studio during the same year. His first exhibition was shown in 1953. Starting in 1956, he was able to illustrate for the Australian supplement of Vogue. The next year he worked for British Vogue, then continued on with Australian Vogue in 1959. By this time, he was a well-known fashion photographer. Then in 1961, he produced for French Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. His popular “Big Nude” series was released in 1980. He also photographed for Playboy. He is known for a provocative and erotic photography style. His legacy includes a tribute exhibition at the Art Center College of Design in California and the Helmut Newton Foundation. Helmut Newton passed away in 2004 and his ashes are buried in Berlin.
Guy Bourdin- Guy Louis Banarès is an international fashion photographer. During his time serving for the military, his first photography training was happened as a cadet for the French Air Force. He became the protege for Man Ray in 1950 and his first exhibition was held in 1953 in Paris. He photographed for Vogue Paris in 1955 and continued working for the magazine until 1987. He shot ads for Charles Jourdan from 1967-1981. He was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1985 but turned it down. Other than working for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, he also photographed for Chanel, Versace, and Bloomingdale’s. His style meshed together shocking moments with fashion pieces. His portraits were sometimes violent and sexual along with mysterious, surreal, and somewhat sinister. He was rude to his models and often known as a demanding person. Madonna used his works in a 2003 music video. Guy Bourdin passed away in 1991. Dreamgirls: The photographs of Guy Bourdin was released the same year. His son wrote a book about his father called Exhibit A, released ten years after Bourdin’s death.