Richard Avedon was born in New York City and attended Columbia University for a short time prior to beginning to work as a photographer, first for the Merchant Marines and then as an advertising photographer. He was quickly noticed by Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Magazine and provided images for both publications prior to becoming a staff photographer exclusively for Vogue.
Well-known campaigns from this period include work for Gianni Versace and a Calvin Klein Jeans campaign featuring a young Brooke Shields. He branched out to include photographs that ranged from the Civil Rights Movements to the Beatles. His work is recognizable by the stark backgrounds and direct approach of the subject towards the camera; his work is often presented in large format. The series and book American West, sometimes regarded as the pinnacle of Avedon’s work, used this large format approach to capture workers, drifters and young residents of the American West. Avedon has been the recipient of several prestigious photography awards and his work has been the subject of exhibitions of major museums, such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.