Posted Friday, October 01, 2004

Another Giant is Gone: Richard Avedon Dead at 81

Richard Avedon, known for his stark, probing black and white portrait photography, has died at age 81.

Here's an excerpt from an essay he wrote entitled Borrowed Dogs:

It was my father who taught me the physics of photography. When I was a boy he explained to me the power of light in the making of a photograph. He held a magnifying glass between the sun and a leaf and set the leaf on fire. The next day, as an experiment, I taped a negative of my sister onto my skin and spent the day at Atlantic Beach.

That night, when I peeled the negative off, there was my sister, sunburned onto my shoulder. I knew from the beginning that being a photographer and playing with light means playing with fire. Neither the photographer nor the subject gets out of it unsinged.