Herbert Bayer

Herbert was in charge of overseeing all acquisitions for ARCO Plaza, the newly completed twin 51-story office towers in Los Angeles which served as the new business’s corporate headquarters.

I’ve not written about a photographer for a while, so I chose Herbert Bayer, as he has been on my radar to research for a while. He had an incredibly interesting life, achieved so much and left an amazing legacy. He was an Austrian and American photographer but was also an accomplished graphic designer and architect who lived from April 5, 1900 until September 30, 1985. Until his death in 1985, he was a key figure in the creation of the Atlantic Richfield Company’s corporate art collection. He is not the typical photographer I follow, but his achievements and truly outstanding.

In Linz, Herbert worked as an apprentice to the artist Georg Schmidthammer. He became intrigued by Walter Gropius Bauhaus after leaving the workshop to study at the Darmstadt Artists' Colony.

In Linz, Herbert worked as an apprentice to the artist Georg Schmidthammer. He became intrigued by Walter Gropius Bauhaus after leaving the workshop to study at the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony. Walter Gropius appointed Herbert as the director of printing and advertising. Herbert had studied at the Bauhaus for four years under masters such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and László Moholy-Nagy.

Herbert had devised a clear visual font that used all-lowercase, sans serif typefaces for most of the Bauhaus publications. Several typographers at the time, like Kurt Schwitters and Jan Tschichold, experimented with the design of a streamlined, phonetic-based alphabet. Between 1925 and 1930, Herbert created a geometric sans-serif Proposal for a Universal Typeface, which only existed as a design and was never cast into physical type. These designs are now available as Bayer Universal in digital format.

At the first significant Bauhaus exhibit in Weimar in 1923, Herbert met photographer Irene Bayer-Hecht. They married in 1925, divorced in 1944, and had a daughter, Julia Alexandra in 1928.

At the first significant Bauhaus exhibit in Weimar in 1923, Herbert met photographer Irene Bayer-Hecht. They married in 1925, divorced in 1944, and had a daughter, Julia Alexandra in 1928.

Herbert left the Bauhaus in 1928 to become the art director of Vogue’s Berlin bureau. He stayed in Germany for longer than the majority of his colleagues. He developed a booklet for the Deutschland Ausstellung, a tourist show in Berlin during the 1936 Olympic Games, in which he praised life in the Third Reich and Hitler’s rule. However, Herbert’s work was included in the Nazi propaganda exhibition ‘Degenerate Art’ in 1937, prompting him to flee Germany. He travelled extensively through Italy after fleeing Germany.

Joella Synara Haweis, the daughter of poet and Dada artist Mina Loy, married Herbet in 1944. In the same year, he also became a citizen of the United States.

After his death, Herbert made arrangements for a collection of his paintings to be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which had been stored in ARCO's conference centre in Santa Barbara.

Herbert moved with his family to Aspen, Colorado in 1946. He was hired by industrialist and visionary Walter Paepcke, who promoted skiing as a popular activity. Herbert’s architectural work in Aspen included co-designing the Aspen Institute and rebuilding the Wheeler Opera House, but his commercial posters helped to brand skiing as witty, exciting and glamorous.

He created his ‘fonetik alfabet’, or phonetic alphabet in English in 1959. It had no capital letters and was sans-serif.

Herbert later met an eccentric oilman and visionary ecologist Robert Anderson while living in Aspen. When Anderson arrived in Aspen and spotted Herbets ultra-modern, Bauhaus-inspired home, he strolled up to the front door and introduced himself. It was the start of a long friendship between the two men, and it was the catalyst for Anderson’s insatiable desire to collect contemporary art.

With Anderson’s eventual formation of the Atlantic Richfield Company, and as his personal art collection quickly outgrew his New Mexico ranch and other homes, ARCO soon became the world’s largest corporate art collection, under the critical eye and sharp direction of Herbert.

Herbert was in charge of overseeing all acquisitions for ARCO Plaza, the newly completed twin 51-story office towers in Los Angeles which served as the new business’s corporate headquarters. He was also in charge of developing the ARCO logo and all corporate branding for the company. Anderson also commissioned Herbet to construct a huge sculpture fountain to be put between the dark green granite towers prior to the completion of ARCO Plaza. Anderson loved the name ‘Stairway to Nowhere’, yet he didn’t think the Shareholders would get the joke, so he proposed it be renamed Double Ascension, and it still remains between the twin skyscrapers today.

ARCO's art collection increased to approximately 30,000 items countrywide during Herbet’s leadership, which was handled by the Atlantic Richfield Company Art Collection staff.

ARCO’s art collection increased to approximately 30,000 items countrywide during Herbet’s leadership, which was handled by the Atlantic Richfield Company Art Collection staff. ARCO’s collection was eclectic, encompassing a wide range of media and styles, including contemporary and earlier paintings, sculpture, works on paper. It also included signed photographs, as well as tribal and ethnic art from many cultures, as well as historic prints and artefacts, all of which were displayed throughout ARCO’s 60,000 square foot facility.

Sadly Lord Brown, the then-chairman of BP, personally ordered the liquidation of ARCO’s art collection three years after the firm was acquired by BP in 2000. Christie’s and LA Modern Auctions both sold it off.

After his death, Herbert made arrangements for a collection of his paintings to be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which had been stored in ARCO’s conference centre in Santa Barbara. The pieces had previously been loaned to the Denver Art Museum. In 1979, he was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The MIT List Visual Arts Center is one of the many public and private collections where Herbet’s art can be viewed today. Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks, an environmental artwork in Kent, Washington, was developed by Herbert.

Lynda and Stewart Resnick, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, contributed $10 million to the nonprofit Aspen Institute in 2019 to establish a Bayer Center on the Institute’s Aspen Meadows site, which Herbet built. The Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies will have exhibitions, instructional events, and the goal is to give instruments for the preservation and study of Herbert’s work in general.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images

Gian Paolo Barbieri

A self-taught photographer, his first professional job was as an apprentice to Harper’s Bazaar photographer Tom Kublin.

Gian Paolo Barbieri (or Giampaolo Barbieri) is an Italian fashion photographer, he was born in born 1938.

Barbieri was born in the Via Mazzini in Milan, where his father operated a department shop. In the mid-1950s, he took part in amateur dramatics, founding “The Trio” with friends. At an early age, he was fascinated by cinema, and he photographed models in Rome in the 1960s, part of the social scene depicted in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1960.

Gian Paolo Barbieri by Hermes Mereghetti
Gian Paolo Barbieri by Hermes Mereghetti

A self-taught photographer, his first professional job was as an apprentice to Harper’s Bazaar photographer Tom Kublin, who died twenty days after Kublin was hired. Vogue Italia, the Italian fashion magazine founded in 1965, featured Barbieri’s photos in 1963. Barbieri has also shot for Vogue in the U.S. and in France.

Jerry Hall, Versace, 1975, by Gian Paolo Barbieri
Jerry Hall, Versace, 1975, by Gian Paolo Barbieri

Barbieri had to choose the finest location for his shots and construct the haircuts, make-up, and jewellery. A good example of this is earrings constructed from table tennis balls painted in mother-of-pearl colours.

A few years later, Barbieri began working closely with ready-to-wear fashion designers. Seine collaborative partnership with Walter Albini led to an appreciation of stylists’ roles, and Barbieri’s collaboration with the fashion designer Valentino was responsible for many of the breakthroughs in modern fashion ad campaigns. Veruschka, Mirella Petteni, Jerry Hall and Audrey Hepburn are some of the models Barbieri has photographed. For Armani, Versace, and Ferré as well as Dolce & Gabbana, Pomellato, and Giuseppe Zanotti, Barbieri has worked as a fashion designer and stylist.

Barbieri became a travel photographerl in the 1990s. Barbieri’s work was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Kunstforum in Vienna, curated by fashion photographer David Bailey.

Audrey Hepburn in Valentino, Vogue Italia, Rome, 1969, by Gian Paolo Barbieri
Audrey Hepburn in Valentino, Vogue Italia, Rome, 1969, by Gian Paolo Barbieri

Unlike most digital photographers, Barbieri does not alter his shots after taking them. A Reflex Voigtländer 35mm was one of his first cameras. Italian magazine Biancamano gave him the Biancamano Prize as Best Photographer for 1968. The German fashion magazine “Stern” listed him as one of its 14 best worldwide fashion photographers for 1978.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

Dmitry Baltermants

Dmitri Baltermants (13 May 1912 – 11 June 1990) was a prominent Soviet photojournalist.

Early life
Baltermants was born in Warsaw, Poland on 13 May 1912. His father was a soldier in the Imperial Russian Army. He died in the First World War.

Baltermants graduated from the Moscow State University.

First Decorated Heroes of Liberated Odessa. – Dmitri Baltermants ©

Career. Baltermants originally planned to be a math teacher at a Military Academy. However, he fell in love and started a career as a photojournalist in 1939. Baltermants was an official Kremlin photographer. He also worked for the daily Izvestia as a photo editor and contributed to the popular magazine Ogonyok.

Baltermants was a World War II veteran who covered the battle at Stalingrad and the battles in Russia and Ukraine for the Red Army. He was twice injured.

Baltermants’ photos were censored by Soviet authorities in order to preserve images that showed the positive aspects of service, just like the Red Army photographers during wartime.

His most striking photos were not published and some of them became widely known in the 1960s. His work was noticed in the West, where it was distributed through the Sovfoto agency.

Entertaining the Troops. – Dmitri Baltermants ©

Jews in the Crimean city of Kerch. It depicts the pain of grieving village women searching for their loved ones’ bodies. The image is made even more dramatic by the powerful sky oversaturated, which was burned in during printing.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

Lillian Bassman

Early life and background
Her parents were Jewish intellectuals. They emigrated from Ukraine (then Russia) in 1905 to the United States and settled in Brooklyn. She was born in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village in New York. She attended the Textile High School in Manhattan and studied with Alexey Brdovitch, a future artist.

More Fashion Mileage Per Dress: Barbara Vaughn in a dress by Filcol, New York. Harper’s Bazaar, 1956

Career. Bassman was a fashion photographer from the 1940s to the 1960s for Junior Bazaar. Later, she worked at Harper’s Bazaar where she promoted the careers and work of Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, Louis Faurer, Arnold Newman, and Robert Frank. She began photographing her models in black and white under the direction of Alexey Brodovitch (a Russian immigrant). From 1950 to 1965, Harper’s Bazaar published most of her work.

Bassman’s fascination with pure form in fashion photography was no longer in fashion by the 1970s. Bassman began to take up photography and stopped taking fashion photos. She threw out 40 years worth of negatives, prints, and other material that had been her life’s work. Over 20 years later, a bag containing hundreds of images was found. In the 1990s, Bassman’s fashion photography work was rediscovered.

Mary Jane Russell, New York. Harper’s Bazaar, 1950

In her nineties, she used digital technology and abstract colour photography to create new work. Her image manipulation was done using Photoshop.

Her photographic work is notable for its high contrasts between dark and light, graininess in the final photos, and the precise placement of subjects and camera angles. Bassman was one of the most important women photographers in fashion history. Bassman’s pioneering photography, and Alexey Brodovitch, her mentor, were an inspiration for Sam Haskins’ black and white work in the sixties.

Bassman died on February 13, 2012, at age 94.

More Fashion Mileage Per Dress: Barbara Vaughn in a dress by Filcol, New York. Harper’s Bazaar, 1956

Personal life
At six years old, she met her future husband Paul Himmel (born 1914) on Coney Island. She was 13 when they met again and began living together at 15. They got married in 1935 and had two children. After 73 years of marriage, Himmel died in 2009.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

David Bailey

David Royston Bailey CBE (born 2 January 1938) is an English fashion and portrait photographer.

It’s impossible to talk about Photographers without mentioning David Royston Bailey. He was born January 2, 1938. He is a portrait and English fashion photographer.

David Bailey was born in Leytonstone at Whipps Cross University Hospital to Herbert Bailey, a tailor’s cutter, and Gladys Bailey, a machinist. He lived in East Ham since he was three years old.

Fashion and portrait photographer David Bailey sits in front of two of his 50 unseen oil paintings (Victoria Jones/PA)

Bailey discovered a passion for natural history and photography. He was diagnosed with undiagnosed dyslexia and had problems in school. Clark’s College, Ilford was his private school. He claims they taught him less than the basic council school. He also has dyslexia and the motor skill disorder dyspraxia.

He claims that he attended only 33 school days in a single school year. On his fifteenth birthday, he left school to become a copyboy at the Fleet Street offices for the Yorkshire Post. After a string of low-paying jobs, he was called up to National Service in 1956. He served with the Royal Air Force at Singapore in 1957. He was forced to look for other creative outlets after his trumpet was stolen. In 1957, he purchased a Rolleiflex camera.

Diana Vreeland & Alexander Leibermann 1977 © David Bailey

In August 1958 David was demobbed. Determined to make a career out of photography, he purchased a Canon rangefinder camera. Because of his poor school record, he was unable to get a spot at the London College of Printing. He became a second assistant to David Ollins in Charlotte Mews. He was a studio dogbody and earned PS3 10s (PS3.50). He was thrilled to be invited to interview John French, a photographer.

Career in the professional sector

Bailey’s image of London gangsters Ronnie Kray and Reggie Kray. Bailey was hired as a photographic assistant for John French’s studio in 1959. In May 1960, Bailey was working as a photographer for John Cole’s Studio Five. He then became a British Vogue fashion photographer later that year. A lot of his freelance work was also done by Bailey.

Bailey, Terence Donovan, and Brian Duffy helped to create the 1960s ‘Swinging London’ culture: fashion and celebrity chic. They became celebrities after they began to socialize with musicians, actors, and royalty. Norman Parkinson called them ‘The Black Trinity‘, and they became the first celebrity photographers.

Mick Jagger 1964 © David Bailey

Blowup (1966), a film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni depicts the life and times of a London fashion photographer. It is played by David Hemmings who was inspired by Bailey. His Box of Pin-Ups (1964), a collection of posters featuring 1960s celebrities such as Terence Stamp, Mick Jagger and Jean Shrimpton, was a fitting reflection of the ‘Swinging London‘ scene. It included posters of famous 1960s figures like Terence Stamp, Rudolf Nureyev, Rudolf Nureyev, Cecil Beaton, Rudolf Nureyev, Rudolf Nureyev, and East End gangsters the Kray twins. The Box was a unique commercial release. This was a reflection of the changing status of the photographer, that one could sell a series of prints this way. Lord Snowdon, a fellow photographer, strongly objected to the inclusion of the Krays in the American edition of “Box”. A second British edition was also not released. According to reports, the record sales for a copy of ‘Box of Pin-Ups’ were ‘north of PSD20,000.’

Bailey shot covers for Vogue in just a few months. At the peak of his productivity, Bailey managed to shoot 800 pages of Vogue editorial within a year. Penelope Tree, his ex-girlfriend, described him as “the King Lion on the Savannah”: extremely attractive with a dangerous vibe. He was the power, the brightest and most powerful, most talented, and most energetic person at the magazine.

Grace Coddington, American Vogue’s creative directors, was then a model and said that Bailey was an unbelieveably beautiful man. He was everything you could want him to be, just like the Beatles but more accessible. Everyone went in when he went on sale. Although he quickly bonded with Jean Shrimpton, we were all a bit too greedy to be his model.

Jean Shrimpton 1965 © David Bailey

Bailey said of Jean Shrimpton, a model: “She was magic and she loved the camera too. She was also the most affordable model in the world. You only had to take half of a roll of film, and you were done. She was a natural, and she had the ability to know where the light was.

Bailey has directed many television documentaries and commercials since 1966. From 1968 to 1971, he produced and directed TV documentaries entitled Beaton, Warhol, and Visconti. Bailey also photographed album sleeves for many musicians, including The Rolling Stones’ Marianne Faithfull. Bailey is most well-known for his famous work depicting the Rolling Stones, including Brian Jones who died in 1969 after being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He stands slightly apart from the rest.

Chris Blackwell, Island Records’ photographer, hired Bailey in 1970 to take publicity photos of Cat Stevens for the upcoming album Tea for the Tillerman. Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, claims that he didn’t like having his photograph on the cover of his albums. However, he did allow Bailey to have his photographs on the inner sleeves of the album.

Bailey photographed Alice Cooper, a rock singer, for Vogue magazine in 1972. She was almost naked, with the exception of a snake. The group’s hit album, ‘Billion Dollar Babies,’ was shot by Cooper again in 1972. The shoot featured a baby wearing shocking eye makeup, and allegedly one billion dollars worth of cash. It required the shooters to be under an armed guard. Bailey and David Litchfield published Ritz Newspaper in 1976. Bailey was taking pictures of stars at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985. He later recalled that the atmosphere was fantastic. “One point, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Then, I spun around. I felt a huge tongue coming down my throat. It was Freddie Mercury!

Bailey was the director of Who Dealt?, a BBC drama that aired in 1992. Story by Ring Lardner. Juliet Stevenson stars. He directed and wrote The Lady is a Tramp, a South Bank Film about his wife Catherine Bailey. He directed Models Close Up with Ginger Television Production in 1998, which was commissioned by Channel 4 Television.

The BBC produced a 2012 film about Bailey’s 1962 New York photoshoot. It was called We’ll Take Manhattan and starred Aneurin Barnard.

Bailey participated in Art Wars at Saatchi Gallery, curated by Ben Moore, in October 2013. The artist received a stormtrooper helmet that he turned into art. The proceeds went to Ben Moore’s Missing Tom Fund to help find Tom, his brother who has been missing since more than ten years. As part of Art Below Regents Park, the work was also displayed on Regents Park’s platform.

Macmillan Books published Bailey’s Memoir, Look Again in October 2020. This was a review of his life and work.


Bailey started working with Jaeger fashion brand in the 1950s, when Jean Muir was appointed as a designer. Bailey was officially appointed by Vogue in 1962 after he had worked alongside Norman Parkinson and other fashion photographers.

Jean Shrimpton was Jean Shrimpton’s first shoot in New York City. She wore a variety of Jaeger, Susan Small clothing including a camel suit with green blouse, and a suede jacket with kitten heels. The shoot was called ‘Young Idea Goes West’.

Bailey, after 53 years, returned to Jaeger for their AW15 campaign. James Penfold was a menswear model and wore tailored tweed jackets and a camel coat. The shoot also featured Elisa Sednaoui, model, filmmaker, and philanthropist, as well as Martin Gardner, GQ’s most stylish man 2003.

Naomi Campbell as Josephina Baker 1989 © David Bailey

In popular culture

Bailey was robbed of some equipment in the 1970s and replaced it with Olympus’ new OM system equipment. It was significantly smaller and lighter than the equipment from contemporary rivals. The Olympus OM-1 35 mm single lens reflex camera was then promoted by Bailey. The Olympus Trip camera was then promoted by him in several TV commercials.

Personal life
Bailey was married four times. He was married to Rosemary Bramble in 1960, to Catherine Deneuve in 1965 (divorced in 1972), to Marie Helvin in 1975, to American model and writer Marie Helvin in 1975 and to Catherine Dyer in 1986. He is still married to Catherine Dyer. He is a vegetarian who has abstained from alcohol for many years. His company address is in London. He is an art-lover and has a long-held passion to Picasso’s works. His wife, Catherine Caliope Bailey is listed as Director. They are also the photographer, Fenton Fox Bailey. The family has a home in Dartmoor near Plymouth. Sascha Taday Bailey is his youngest son, born June 1994. He is an art curator.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish family. His father, Jacob Israel Avedon, was a Russian-born immigrant who advanced from menial work to starting his own successful retail dress business on Fifth Avenue called Avedon’s Fifth Avenue.

Richard Avedon, born May 15, 1923 and died October 1, 2004, was an American fashion photographer. He was a photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and specialized in the capture of movement in still photographs of fashion, theatre, and dance. According to The New York Times, his fashion and portrait photos helped define America’s culture, style, and beauty over the past half-century.

© The Richard Avedon Foundation

Early Life and education
Avedon was born to a Jewish family in New York City. Avedon’s father, Jacob Israel Avedon was a Russian-born immigrant. He rose from menial labor to open his own successful Fifth Avenue dress shop, Avedon’s Fifth Avenue. Anna Avedon was Richard’s mother. She came from a family with a dress-manufacturing firm. Avedon’s love for photography was sparked when he joined a Young Men’s Hebrew Association’s (YMHA), Camera Club at the age of 12. He used his Kodak Box Brownie to both feed his curiosity and to get away from his own personal life. His father was a harsh and distant disciplinarian who demanded that one be financially strong, educated, and wealthy to make it through life. Louise, his younger sister, was his first muse. In her teens, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia after undergoing psychiatric treatments. Avedon’s early influences from fashion and family would have a profound impact on his life and career. Avedon was often driven to photograph tragic beauty.

The Comforts Portfolio, #02, A Fable in 24 Episodes, Montauk, New York, August 1995.
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

Avedon attended DeWitt-Clinton High School in Bedford Park (Bronx), where he was an editor on The Magpie school newspaper with James Baldwin. Avedon won the Scholastic Art and Writing Award while he was a teenager. After graduating from DeWitt, Clinton that year he enrolled in Columbia University to study philosophy. However, he dropped out of school after only one year. His father had given him a Rolleiflex camera and he began to photograph the Merchant Marines crewmen. Avedon studied photography from 1944 to 1950 with Alexey Brodovitch in his Design Laboratory at The New School for Social Research.

Photography career. In 1944 Avedon was an advertising photographer for a department shop. But, Alexey Brodovitch was quick to endorse Avedon, who was then art director for Harper’s Bazaar. Avedon’s Harper’s career was promoted by Lillian Bassman. His photos began to appear in Junior Bazaar, and then Harper’s Bazaar one year later.

Avedon started taking photographs for magazines like Vogue, Life and other publications in 1946. He quickly rose to become Harper’s Bazaar’s chief photography photographer. He began contributing photographs to Life, vague Look and Graphis in 1950. In 1952, he became the Staff Editor and Photographer for Theatre Arts Magazine. Avedon was not a traditional photographer who took studio fashion photographs. He didn’t have models that were posed in a static pose and appeared to be indifferent. Avedon displayed models in a variety of emotions, including smiling, laughing, and even in action outdoors. This was groundbreaking at the time. He became frustrated with open-air photography and daylight photography towards the end the 1950s and turned to studio photography using strobe light.

Lauren Hutton, sweater by Van Raalte, Great Exuma, The Bahamas, October 1968.
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

Avedon was hired by Diana Vreeland in 1962 to be her staff photographer. Avedon was promoted to lead photographer of Vogue. He photographed all the covers between 1973 and 1988, when Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief. He also shot the Calvin Klein Jeans campaign, which featured Brooke Shields as a 15-year-old. He also directed her in the television commercials. Avedon was first to work with Shields for a Colgate toothpaste commercial in 1974. Avedon shot Shields for Versace, 12 American Vogue covers, and Revlon’s Most Unforgettable women campaign. Avedon wrote in the February 9, 1981 issue of Newsweek that Brooke was a lightning rod. She brings out the anger people feel about the decline of contemporary morality, and the destruction of innocence around the world. Interview magazine, May 1992: Shields said that Avedon intimidates many people when he walks into the room. He is so creative and sensitive when he is working. He doesn’t like when anyone is there or speaking. He clicks the shutter and there is mutual vulnerability as well as a moment when they fuse. It’s either you get it or not.

Avedon continued his fashion work and began making studio portraits in the 1960s of civil rights workers, politicians, and cultural dissidents from various stripes. Avedon’s photographs were taken in America, a nation divided by violence and discord. Avedon began to photograph patients in mental hospitals, Civil Rights Movement activists in 1963, as well as protesters against the Vietnam War and the fall of Berlin Wall.

Nastassja Kinski, actress, Los Angeles, June 14, 1981.
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

A personal book called “Nothing Personal,” with a text by his high school classmate James Baldwin, appeared in 1964. Avedon also produced two sets of well-known portraits of The Beatles. The first was shot in 1967 and became one of the most famous rock poster series. It featured five psychedelic portraits featuring the Beatles. These included four individually solarized colour portraits and a black-and white group portrait. The Beatles LP included more subtle portraits in 1968. Avedon photographed them again the following year. Avedon photographed Electric Light Orchestra in 1973 with all its members showing their bellybuttons to record On the Third Day.

Avedon was always curious about how portraiture captures the soul and personality. He began photographing famous people in his studio, using an 8×10-inch view camera. Buster Keaton was photographed with Marian Anderson, Ezra Pound (Isak Dinesen), Dwight D. Eisenhower and Andy Warhol. His portraits are distinctive by his minimalist style. They feature the subject looking straight at the camera in front a plain white background. Avedon eliminated the need for props and soft lights, which allowed him to be more focused on the inner worlds his subjects. This enabled him to elicit emotions and reactions. Avedon could sometimes provoke emotions from portrait subjects by asking them probing psychological questions or leading them into uneasy areas. These methods allowed him to capture aspects of his subjects’ personalities and character that are not normally captured by other photographers.

Avedon’s murals featured iconic figures such as Andy Warhol, The Factory players and stars, and The Chicago Seven, political radicals accused of conspiracy to incite an riot at 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Mission Council is a group made up of military and government officials who managed the United States’ participation during the Vietnam War.

New York Life #19, Central Park West, New York, November 17, 1949.
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

Avedon created a series of clever advertisements for Christian Dior in 1982, which was based on the concept of film stills. These photographs featured Andre Gregory, Vincent Vallarino, Kelly Le Brock, and director. The colour photographs were intended to depict the wild antics of a fictional Dior family, a trio of menage a trois, while still wearing elegant clothes.

Avedon was the first New Yorker staff photographer in 1992. His post-apocalyptic, wild fashion fable, “In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Comfort, featuring Nadja Auermann as a model and a skeleton was published in 1995. There were many other images for the magazine. These included the first publication in 1994 of previously unpublished Marilyn Monroe photos, as well as a striking rendering of Christopher Reeve in a wheelchair and nude photographs Charlize Theron’s 2004. His portraits of Hillary Clinton, Toni Morrison and John Kerry are some of his most controversial New Yorker portraits. He continued his contributions to Egoiste in his later years. His photographs were published from 1984 to 2000. Avedon took the cover photos of Hikaru Utada, a Japanese-American singer’s album Addicted To You in 1999.

Annie Leibovitz, photographer, names Avedon as a major inspiration. She describes Avedon’s style as “personal reportage”, which is a way to build a relationship with your subjects.

In the American West The cover of Avedon’s book In the American West (1985).
Avedon’s large prints often measure over three feet high, which is one of his strengths as a photographer. Avedon’s large-format portraits of western Americans, including cowboys, miners and drifters, became a bestseller and a traveling exhibit called In the American West. It is considered Avedon’s greatest work in portrait photography and is considered to be his masterpiece.

Avedon suffered from severe heart inflammations in 1974. Avedon was forced to create a compelling collection by looking at things from a different perspective after this difficult time. Mitchell A. Wilder (1913-1979), director of Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum, asked him to complete the “Western Project” in 1979. Wilder wanted the project to show Avedon’s view of the American West. Avedon’s career was transformed when he emphasized everyday working-class subjects like miners who were dirty in their work clothes, housewives and farmers on larger-than life prints. Instead of focusing on famous public figures or the grandeur and openness of the West, this project became a turning point. The five-year project culminated in an exhibition and a catalog. Avedon and his team were able to photograph 762 people, and expose around 17,000 sheets 8×10 Kodak TriX Pan film. Avedon admitted that the collection revealed a story in his subjects’ innermost selves, something that would not have been possible if his sense of mortality from severe heart conditions and ageing had not occurred. Avedon visited the state fair rodeos, carnivals and slaughterhouses in order to identify subjects. Avedon returned to his subjects in 1994 to talk about In the American West aftermath, and its direct consequences. Billy Mudd was a trucker who spent long periods on his own, away from his family. Before Avedon allowed him to take his portrait, he was depressed, lonely, and disconnected. Mudd was shocked to see Avedon’s portrait for the first times. He revealed something about Mudd which allowed him to realize the need to make changes in his life. Mudd was transformed by the portrait and he decided to quit his job to be with his family.

Avedon: Darkness and Light is a 1996 American Masters documentary by Helen Whitney. It shows an aging Avedon who identifies In the American West with his greatest body of work. Avedon wanted to find new dimensions in himself. He was a Jewish photographer from East who documented the lives of prominent public figures to an older man trying to uncover the inner-worlds and stories of his rural Western subjects.

Avedon faced problems in sizing quality printing papers during the production period. Avedon tried platinum printing but eventually settled on Portriga Rapid. This double-weight, fibre-based gelatin-silver paper is manufactured by Agfa–Gevaert. Each print was meticulously created, requiring an average of thirty-to forty manipulations. As artist proofs, two exhibition sets of In the American West were produced. One set was to be kept at the Carter and the other to be used by the artist to travel to the six remaining venues. The printing process took nine months and covered approximately 68,000 square feet (6.300 m2) of paper.

Although In the American West is Avedon’s most famous work, critics have often criticized it for voyeuristic themes and exploiting his subjects. Critics ask why a photographer who has been primarily focused on public figures and models would travel to the West to photograph the suffering and hardship of the working class. Avedon’s intent is to provoke and influence condescending emotions in the viewer, such pity.

The Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Convention, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1963.
© The Richard Avedon Foundation


Avedon hosted many museum exhibitions all over the globe. In 1970, his first major retrospective took place at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In 1978 and 2002, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presented two solo exhibits. The University Art Museum, Berkeley organized a second retrospective in 1980. Major retrospectives were held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1994) and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek (Denmark), 2007; the latter hosted a series of major retrospectives. The curators also travelled to San Francisco, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam from 2007 to 2009. The International Center of Photography, 2009, presented Avedon’s work, from his earliest sun-splashed photos in 1944 to portraits that show his fashion fatigue in 2000. The Corcoran Gallery of Art also presented Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power in 2009. This exhibition brought together Avedon’s political portraits for first time

Art Market
Christie’s achieved a record price for a seven-foot high print of Dovima in 2010. It was a rare, seven-foot tall image of Dovima posing in a Christian Dior evening gown with elephants from Paris’ Cirque d’Hiver in 1955. Maison Christian Dior purchased this print, which is the largest of the image, in 1978 to commemorate Avedon’s fashion retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sunny Harnett and Alla, evening dresses by Balmain, Casino, Le Touquet, August 1954.
© The Richard Avedon Foundation

Personal life and death. In 1944 Avedon married Dorcas Marie Nowell (19 year old bank teller), who became the actress and model Doe Avedon. They did not have any children and split in 1949. Family and colleagues have attested to Avedon’s bisexuality. They lived in Cherry Grove, Fire Island. Nowell’s departure left Avedon devastated.

He married Evelyn Franklin in 1951. She died March 13, 2004. John Avedon, their son, was born to them. He has written extensively on Tibet.

Avedon bought a former carriage house in Manhattan’s Upper East Side to serve as his studio and apartment. He purchased a house with four bedrooms on a Montauk estate of 7.5 acres (3.0 ha). It was located between the Atlantic Ocean, Montauk Nature Preserve, and was sold for nearly $9 million in 2000.

Avedon’s nephew Loren Avedon, a martial arts actor.

Avedon’s great-grandson is Michael Avedon, a photographer.

Avedon confided to Norma Stevens (the long-time studio director), about his homosexual relationships. Avedon also had a decade-long affair, according to Stevens.

Avedon, who suffered complications from a cerebral hemorhage on October 1, 2004, died in San Antonio, Texas. Avedon was in San Antonio filming an assignment for The New Yorker. He was working on Democracy, which focuses on the run-up for the 2004 U.S. Presidential election.

Avedon created the Richard Avedon Foundation, a private foundation that operates. It was established shortly after Avedon’s death in 2004. The foundation, based in New York is the repository of Avedon’s negatives, publications and papers. Avedon’s personal collection, which was displayed at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York and the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, was on display from 2006 to raise funds for the Avedon Foundation. The collection featured photographs by Edward Steichen, Man Ray, Martin Munkacsi and Edward Steichen. Eye of the Beholder: Photographs from the Collection of Richard Avedon (Fraenkel Gallery) is a slim volume that collects the majority of the collection. It consists of five booklets: “Diane Arbus”, “Peter Hujar”, and “Irving Penn”, which include 19th- and twentieth-century photographers.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images..

Nobuyoshi Araki

Nobuyoshi Araki known primarily for photography that blends eroticism and bondage in a fine art context, he has published over 500 books.

Nobuyoshi Araki (Born May 25, 1940) was a Japanese photographer, contemporary artist, and professional known as Araki. He is best known for his photography which blends eroticism with bondage in fine art contexts. He has published more than 500 books.

Nobuyoshi Araki –

Early life and education
Araki was born May 25, 1940 in Tokyo. He graduated in 1963 from Chiba University with a degree for film and photography. He was employed at Dentsu as an advertising agent, where he met his future spouse, the essayist Yoko Aki.

© Nobuyoshi Araki

Art careers Araki is one the most popular Japanese artists. His photographs often feature erotic images that cross the line between art and pornography. His photography books include Sentimental Journey (1971) and Tokyo Lucky Hole (90). Sentimental Journey (1972-1992) is a journal of his life with his wife Yoko. She died from ovarian cancer in 1990. Sentimental Journey’s first section shows the couple on their honeymoon and in sexual relations. Winter Journey published photos taken by Yoko during her last days.

Parr and Badger include four Araki books in the first volume their photobook history.

© Nobuyoshi Araki

Araki contributed photography to the Sunrise anime series Brain Powerd.

Araki directed High School Girl’s Fake Diary in 1981 for Nikkatsu. It was a roman porno movie. It was disappointing for Araki’s fans as well as fans of pink films.

© Nobuyoshi Araki

Bjork, an Icelandic musician, is a fan of Araki’s work and was one of his models. He photographed her cover and inner sleeves of Telegram’s 1997 remix albumTelegram at her request. He has also photographed Lady Gaga, a pop singer.

Travis Klose, an American filmmaker, made a documentary on Araki in 2005 called Arakimentari. It discusses Araki’s life and work.

Araki was diagnosed in 2008 with prostate cancer. He underwent successful surgery.

Araki’s cat Chiro died in 2010 from old age.

Araki lost his vision in his right eye in October 2013 due to a retinal obstruction. The experience inspired the 74-year old artist to show Love on the Left Eye, which was held at Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo on 21 June 2014.

Bottega Veneta in Italy commissioned Araki to photograph Saskia De Brauw and Sung Jin Park in Tokyo as part of its spring/summer 2015 campaign.

© Nobuyoshi Araki


Araki is well-known for his intimate access to models. Araki claimed that he was granted access to models through sex in 2011 when he was asked.

Kaori, a former model who photographed for Araki between 2001 and 2016, wrote a blog entry about her relationship with Araki. In it she accused him both of artistic and financial exploitation. Kaori claimed that she was working without a contract and was forced to participate in explicit shoots in public in front of strangers. She also stated that her nude photos were frequently used without her permission. Kaori wrote to Araki in 2017 requesting that he cease republishing and exhibiting photographs of her. The experience caused her psychological trauma and mental ill-health. Kaori said that she was encouraged to speak out by the Me Too movement. These accusations raise questions about the power dynamics of a photographer and his subject. To raise awareness about Kaori’s claims the activist group Angry Asian Girls Association protested Araki’s December 2018 exhibition at C/O Berlin.

© Nobuyoshi Araki

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Manuel Álvarez Bravo was born in Mexico City, his father was a teacher, but pursued painting, photography and writing, producing several plays and his grandfather was a professional portrait maker.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, February 4, 1902 – October 19, 2003 was an influential Mexican artist photographer. He was raised in Mexico City. He took art classes at Academy of San Carlos but his photography skills are self-taught. His career spans from the late 1920s through the 1990s, with his artistic peak in the 1920s and 1950s. He was known for his ability to capture the everyday in surrealistic or ironic ways. Although his early work was heavily influenced by European influences, he soon became influenced by Mexican muralism and the cultural and political push to redefine Mexican identity. He was against the idyllic and used elements to avoid stereotyping. His work was displayed in numerous exhibitions. He also worked in Mexican cinema and founded Fondo Editorial de la Plastica Mexicana, a publishing house. His work was mostly recognized after 1970. He received numerous awards. In 2017, the UNESCO Memory of the World registry recognized his work.

© Alvarez Bravo

Alvarez Bravo was a Mexican citizen who was born in Mexico City, February 4, 1902. His father was a teacher but he pursued painting, photography, and writing. He also produced several plays, and his grandfather was an artist and portrait maker. Alvarez Bravo was exposed to photography early on. He was raised in Mexico City’s historic center, right behind the Cathedral. His home was one of many colonial buildings that were converted into apartments for the city’s lower and middle classes. When the Mexican Revolution started, he was eight years old. As a child, he could hear gunfire and saw dead bodies. Later, this would impact his photography.

Alvarez Bravo was an elementary student at the Patricio Sánz boarding school in Tlalpan from 1908 to 1914. However, he had to drop out at twelve because his father died. For a time, he worked as a clerk in a French textile factory and then at the Mexican Treasury Department. After studying accounting at night, he switched to art classes at Academy of San Carlos. Alvarez Bravo met Hugo Brehme and purchased his first camera in 1924. With some help from Brehme, he began to experiment with the camera. He also subscribed to magazines about photography. Tina Modotti, a photographer, was his first encounter. Alvarez Bravo had already admired Modotti’s work in Mexican Folkways magazines like Forma before they met. He was introduced to Edward Weston, a photographer and intellectual in Mexico City who encouraged him to keep at the craft.

© Alvarez Bravo

Alvarez Bravo was married 3 times throughout his life. All of them were photographers. Lola Alvarez Bravo Bravo, his first wife, was his. As a freelance photographer, he got married to her in 1925. He taught her how to do the art, but she didn’t have the same fame. Manuel was their sole child. They split in 1934. His second wife, Doris Heyden was their only child. Colette Alvarez Urbajtel (a French photographer) was his third.

In 1973, he gave his personal collection which included photos and cameras to the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. 400 additional photos were purchased by Mexico’s Museo de Arte Moderno.

He died on October 19, 2002.


Alvarez Bravo was a photographer from the 1920s until the 1990s. It was founded in the decade that followed the Mexican Revolution (1920s-1950s), a time when there was significant artistic output. The government sponsored a lot of it to promote a new Mexican identity, which is based both on modernity and Mexico’s indigenous past.

He began photography in the 1920s. In 1930, Modotti quit his government job to become an independent photographer. Tina Modotti, a Mexican politician was also deported that same year. Alvarez Bravo gave her her camera, and Mexican Folkways magazine job. Alvarez Bravo began to photograph muralists in Mexico for this publication. He made his professional debut in the remaining 1930s. Paul Strand, a professional photographer, was his friend on the 1933 set of “Redes”. He briefly collaborated with him. Andre Breton, a French Surrealist artist, was the first person he met. Breton promoted Alvarez Bravo’s French work and had it displayed there. Breton requested a photograph be used as the cover to a catalog about an exhibit in Mexico. Alvarez Bravo’s photo “La buena Fiama durmiendo” was created by Alvarez Bravo. The Mexican censors withheld it from publication due to nudity. But, the photo would be published again.

Alvarez Bravo taught most of the next generation, including Nacho López, Hector Garcia, and Graciela Iurbide. He was a teacher of photography at the Escuela central de artes plasticas (now the National School of Arts) from 1938-1939. He was a professor at Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematograficos during the latter half 1960s.

© Alvarez Bravo

He worked as a still photographer in Mexico from 1943 to 1959. This led him to try out cinematography. He collaborated with Jose Revueltas on an experimental film called Coatlicue in 1949. He worked as a still photographer for Luis Bunuel’s 1957 film Nazarin.

He participated in more than 200 collective exhibitions and had over 150 solo exhibitions. A 1928 photograph of his was selected to be displayed in the First Salon Mexciano de la Fotografia. In 1932, he had his first solo exhibition at Galeria Posada in Mexico City. He exhibited at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1935 with Henri Cartier-Bresson, and had catalogue texts by Langston Hughes, Luis Cardoza y Aragon, and Langston Hughes. His work was included in a surrealist exhibit by Andre Breton, which took place at the gallery of Ines Amor in 1940. Edward Steichen selected three Bravo pictures for MoMA’s 1955 The Family of Man exhibit. This exhibition was viewed by more people than any other. The Palacio De Bellas Artses hosted a retrospective in 1968 of the work of Alvarez Bravo. In 1971, he exhibited at Pasadena Art Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1978. He also exhibited at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, 1983, and the National Library of Madrid in 1985. Evidencias de lo invisible cien fotografias (Evidence of the Invisible – One Hundred Photographs) was shown at the Fine Arts Museum, New Delhi, the Imperial Palace, Beijing, and the Belem Cultural Center, Lisbon, from 1994 to 1995. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles hosted a retrospective on his work in 2001.

In 1945, he published his first book “El arte negro”. His photographs also appeared in many publications throughout his career, including the 1964 book Mexico: pintura y hoy by Luis Cardoza y Aragon. Along with Octavio Pasz, he co-authored and provided photographs for the 1982 book Instante y revelacion. He founded the Fondo Editorial Mexicana de la Plastica Mexicana in 1959 with Gabriel Figueroa and Rafael Carrillo. This publisher produces books about Mexican art. This project took him through the 1960s, which put him in relative anonymity until 1970s when his work was again widely displayed.

Alvarez Bravo won his first major award for photography, first prize for an image featuring two lovers on a boat at Feria Regional Ganadera Oaxaca. He won the first prize in a competition sponsored and organized by La Tolteca with the image La Tolteca. Diego Rivera was among the judges. His awards were not awarded until the 1970s. These awards include the Elias Sourasky Arts Prize, Premio National de Arte, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

© Alvarez Bravo

Alvarez Bravo continued photographing until his passing. He began photographing nudes one year before his death. He said that it wasn’t work you can complain about.

His work is represented in significant collections in Mexico and the United States. Francisco Toledo, a Mexican photographer, founded the Centro Fotografico Alvarez Bravo in 1996. Six halls are available for temporary exhibitions of Toledo’s photographs and works by other photographers. It also houses a library that specializes in photography, as well as a permanent collection with 4,000 photographs taken by Alvarez Bravo and other prominent photographers. Alvarez Bravo started assembling the collection in 1980 for Fundacion Cultural Televisa. It consists of 2,294 photos. The Casa Lamm Cultural Center Mexico City has a vault to store them. Casa Lamm’s photo archive continues to be open to requests for reproductions from Mexico and other countries. It also provides assistance to researchers looking into the life and times of the photographer. Two important collections outside of Mexico are located at the J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles and Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum.

ArtistryHe was the pioneer in Mexican artistic photography and the most prominent figure in Latin American photography during the 20th century. His creative work reached new heights between the 1920s and the 1940s. He recognized the limitations of photography and was able to avoid stereotyping.

His main subjects were nudes and folk art, rituals and burials, as well as shop windows, urban streets, and everyday interactions. Diego Rivera encouraged Alvarez Bravo to travel to rural and small towns, even though he spent most of his time in Mexico City. Alvarez Bravo photographs rarely depict the trappings and power of politics, preferring to photograph everyday life. His subjects are almost all anonymous. He also wanted to capture textures, particularly those on floors and walls. One example is “Hair on Tile”, which features a long, wavy hairstyle on a tile floor with cross and star designs.

Large cameras produced greater detail in his finished prints, so he used them. He was more concerned about the quality of the prints than with the images that he took. The images were poetic and the compositions were excellent. To distinguish his photographs, he gave them titles. His photographs’ titles often draw inspiration from Mexican mythology and culture.

Alvarez Bravo’s early work was heavily influenced by European Cubism and French Surrealism. This was largely due to two books: one on Picasso and one on Japanese prints with Hokusai work. His career was established in the post-Mexican Revolution era when there was a cultural as well as political push to redefine Mexican identity. He embraced Mexican influences in the 1930s and switched to themes and styles that were more reminiscent of European art, as well as the Mexican muralism movement. His photographs were more complex, with symbols of blood and death, religion and the paradoxes of Mexican culture. His childhood experience with death during the Mexican Revolution played a part in the photographs, from the explicit “Striking Worker assassinated” to the subtler “Portrait of the Eternal.” Alvarez Bravo was not interested in politics, but he was very interested in Mexico’s cultural identity.

Alvarez Bravo’s trademark was the ability to capture hidden and surreal essences beneath the apparently ordinary images he was photographing. Alvarez Bravo was the first Mexican photographer to take a militantly anti-picturesque stand, to avoid stereotyping Mexico’s variety of cultures. To avoid the picturesque, he had to present images that went against what was expected from photographs about Mexico even if photographing something classically Mexican. One way Alvarez Bravo did this was to employ a sense of irony, to the addition of an element contrary to expectations and the main focus of the photograph. For example, while photographing an indigenous man in typical clothing (Señor de Papantla 1934), the man stares defiantly back into the camera. Another was to capture people doing ordinary activities avoiding romanticism and sentimentality. One example is a photo of a mother and a shoeshine boy (La mama del bolero y el bolero 1950s) eating lunch together. Another is a group of men eating at a lunch counter (Los agachadfos 1934).

Alvarez Bravo used Mexico City’s streets and squares as a platform to present the social and cultural realities in the city. To present Mexico City, he used his lens not to portray it as heroic or moral but instead to focus on social relationships and material conflicts. These include gender and class roles. In the 1930s and 1940s, he found more complex ways of framing the contradictions of Mexico’s urban lifestyle into social statements. In his photographs, the feminine identity shows a complex symbolic range in which sex overlaps with other social identities.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images

Eve Arnold

In 1980, Eve had her first solo exhibition, which featured her photographic work done in China at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.

Eve Arnold, OBE Hon. FRPS (nee Cohen) was an American photojournalist. In 1951, she joined Magnum Photos agency and was made a full member in 1956. She was the first woman ever to join Magnum Photos agency.

Eve Arnold on the set of Becket. Photo: Robert Penn. 1963 © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

Early life and career
Eve Arnold was born Eve Cohen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the middle child of nine children to Russian-Jewish immigrants William Cohen (born Velvel Sklarski), and Bessie (Bosya Laschiner), who were both rabbi and wife. Arnold’s parents were reluctant to accept her decision to leave medicine to pursue photography. In 1941, she married Arnold Schmitz (later Arnold Arnold). In 1946, she began to take up photography while working at Kodak’s Fair Lawn NJ photo finishing plant. She began photographing her hometown with a new humanitarian perspective using a Rolleicord. She learned photography skills from Alexey Brodovitch, Harper’s Bazaar’s art director at the New School for Social Research (NY), over six weeks in 1948. She studied photography under Brodovitch and produced a collection featuring photos from Harlem’s vibrant fashion scene scene. In 1951, the London Illustrated Picture Post published the series. The series was a success, but she later revealed in a diary entry how the editor of the magazine altered her captions and reversed her photos’ message to make it more racist. After becoming interested in Long Island’s housing discrimination against African American migrants, she decided to pursue her research. In 1957, she became the Magnum Agency’s first female member. Arnold covered republican press events and the McCarthy hearings, as well as exploring the taboo topic of birth. Arnold was acutely aware of the underrepresentation in photojournalists of women and the role of celebrities of women in the media. Arnold explored these ideas in her 1976 full-length photo book The Unretouched Woman.

Marilyn Monroe going over her lines for a difficult scene she is about to play in the film “The Misfits”. 1960. © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

Arnold’s Marilyn Monroe images on The Misfits (1961), are perhaps her most famous, but she had taken many Monroe photos from 1951. Arnold wanted to capture Monroe’s anxiety about being the focus of media attention. These intimate photos were taken candidly. In order to better write and photograph Monroe and Joan Crawford, she made friends with them. In May 2005, Monroe’s previously unpublished photos were displayed at the Halcyon Gallery in London. Arnold’s work was dominated by travel. She took an interest in photographing Civil Rights and Black Power movements in America, the Soviet Union, and China. Arnold was always interested in exploring the depths of her photography. She even returned from shoots with cigarette burns and a crowd disapproving. In 1971, she produced Women Behind the Veil. It was a documentary that focused on Arabian Harems, Hammams, and other related subjects. She photographed many famous people, including Queen Elizabeth II, Malcolm X and Joan Crawford. She traveled around the globe, taking pictures in China, Russia and South Africa. Arnold, her son Francis Arnold, moved to England permanently in the 1970s after she left the United States. Many of her photographs were published in Look, Life, Esquire, Harpar’s Bazaar, Geo, Stern, Paris-Match, and Epoca. She began to use colour photography while working at the London Sunday Times. Arnold preferred black and white, however. Arnold alternated between glamour photos of movie stars and portraits of everyday people and their experiences. Arnold’s most difficult task was to make the mundane fascinating. Arnold’s fascination with the “poor, the old, and the underdog” continued, as her photographs captured the gentle humanity Arnold portrays as a characteristic of all human beings. Arnold’s trust with her subjects is evident in Arnold’s photographs, as well as the natural lighting and poses she uses.

Marlene Dietrich at the recording studios of Columbia Records. New York City. November, 1952. © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

Later in life

In 1980 her first solo exhibit, featuring her photographs taken in China, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. She was also awarded the American Society of Magazine Photographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award. She was elected Master Photographer by the International Center of Photography in New York and made an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society. Arnold was one of five women included in Magna Brava’s touring catalogue. After being rejected as a Vietnam war photographer, Arnold discovered that photographing South African Shantytowns was also critiqued. This helped her to draw attention to the injustices around the world. She also took photos of disabled veterans, Mongolian herders, and women in brothels.

Arnold created portraits of American First Ladies in 1960 including Lady Bird Johnson and Jackie Kennedy. She was elected to the Advisory Committee of National Media Museum, formerly known as the Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 1997. In 2003, she was made an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

She lived in Mayfair for many decades until her last illness. After that, she moved to St George’s Square in Pimlico. Arnold answered Anjelica Huston’s question about whether she still did photography. Arnold said that she can no longer hold a camera. She stated that she read a lot of writers like Thomas Mann, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy. One of her final photos was of her grandson, who visited her in 1994 to learn photography. In her diary entry from that day, she describes the bond that exists between subject and photographer. She continued to emphasize her simple style in photos that use natural lighting and don’t have embellishments or posing. She describes “curiosity“, her driving force, as a single-word description. Her career was described by her friend as “a one woman cultural exchange”.

American actor Paul Newman at The Actors Studio. New York City, USA. 1955. © Eve Arnold / Magnum Photos

Arnold died in London on January 4, 2012, aged 99.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images

Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget

Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget was born 12 February 1857 in Libourne. His father, carriage builder Jean-Eugène Atget, died in 1862.

Eugène Atget

Eugene Atget, 12 February 1857 – 5 August 1927 was a French flaneur and pioneer in documentary photography. He is best known for his determination to capture all the architecture and street scenes in Paris before they disappear to modernization. Berenice Abbott published most of his photos after his death. Although he sold his photographs to artists and craftspeople, and was an inspiration to the surrealists and other photographers, he didn’t live to see the widespread acclaim that his work would receive.

© Eugène Atget.

Atget’s birthplace in Libourne
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget, a carriage builder, was born in Libourne on 12 February 1857. Jean-Eugene Atget was his father and he died in 1862. His mother Clara-Adeline Atget nee Hourlier also died shortly afterwards. Atget was an orphan at the age of seven. After finishing secondary school, he joined the merchant navy. He was raised in Bordeaux by his maternal grandparents.

© Eugène Atget.

Atget arrived in Paris in 1878. Atget failed the acting class entrance exam but was accepted after a second attempt. He was drafted to military service and could not attend class full-time. This resulted in him being expelled from drama school.

He remained in Paris and became an actor in a traveling troupe, performing in Paris’ suburbs as well as the provinces. Valentine Delafosse Compagnon became his companion and he met Valentine Delafosse Compagnon. After a vocal chord infection in 1887, he quit acting and moved to the provinces where he tried painting but was unsuccessful. He took his first photographs of Beauvais and Amiens at the age of thirty. They date back to 1888.

Atget returned to Paris in 1890 and began working as a professional photographer. He also provided documents for artists, including studies for painters and architects.

His photographs were purchased by the Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris. He was commissioned by the latter in 2006. 1906 to take systematic photographs of old Paris buildings. He moved to Montparnasse in 1899.

Small market in front of the Church of Saint-Médard, Paris, 1898.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Eugène Atget.

Atget was a photographer but he still considered himself an actor. He gave lectures and reads.

Atget temporarily kept his archives in his basement during World War I. He also gave up photography almost entirely. Valentine’s son Leon was killed in action at the front.

He sold thousands of his negatives in 1920-21 to institutions. He became financially independent and began to photograph the parks of Versailles, Saint-Cloud, and Sceaux. He also produced a series photographs of prostitutes.

While working with Man Ray in the 1920s, Berenice Abbott visited Atget and bought some of his photos. She also tried to get other artists interested in his work. Through various articles, exhibitions, and books, she continued to promote Atget and sold her Atget collection at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967.

Valentine, Atget’s girlfriend, died in 1926. Atget was not able to see the profile and full-face portraits Abbott took in 1927. He also died in Paris on August 4, 1927.

Parisians looking at a total solar eclipse, April 17, 1912.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Eugène Atget

Photographic practice

Avenue des Gobelins (1927).

Atget began photography in the late 1880s when photography was experiencing unprecedented growth in both the commercial and amateur sectors.

Atget took photos of Paris using a large-format wooden bellows camera equipped with a rapid-rectilinear lens and a quick rectilinear zoom. This instrument was quite current at the time Atget bought it, but he kept using it even after larger-format, more efficient cameras were made. His optical vignetting in corners is due to him repositioning the lens relative to its plate. He used one of the bellows view cameras’ features to correct perspective, control perspective and maintain vertical forms straight. Four small, clear rebates (printing in black) are visible on the negatives. These are where the clips were used to hold the glass in place during exposure. Bande Bleue (Blue Ribbon brand) glass plates had a general-purpose gelatin silver emulsion. The exposure time was quite long and resulted in blurred images. Recent scientific analysis of Atget’s negatives in Parisian collections as well as Philadelphia Museum of Art prints has attracted much attention to Atget’s work.

Interieurs Parisiens is a collection of photographs Atget took for the Biblioteque Naţionale. It includes a view of his simple darkroom, which contains trays to process negatives and prints as well as a safelight and frames for printing. Atget would take a photograph and then develop, wash and fix it. He would then assign the negative with the next number to his filing category. On the negative’s verso, he would write the negative number in graphite and scratch it into the emulsion. Contact-printing his negatives onto commercially available, sensitized printing-out papers was Atget’s preferred method of printing out. He used two types of matte albumen, gelatin-silver, and albumen printing-out paper. The negative was placed under glass on a sheet of photographic albumen printing-out paper. It was then exposed in the sun. Atget then checked the print and fixed it with gold toner. This was standard practice at the time he started taking up photography.

Atget didn’t use an enlarger and all his prints are the exact same size as their negatives. The prints would be numbered in pencil and labeled on the backs. They were then placed by the corners in four slits on each album page. Additional albums were made based on themes specific to the clients and not a series or chronology.

The Palace of Versailles, 1903.
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Eugène Atget

Subject matter
By 1891 Atget advertised his business with a shingle at his door, remarked later by Berenice Abbott, that announced: “Documents pour Artistes”. Initially, his subjects were flowers, animals, landscapes, and monuments; sharp and meticulous studies centred simply in the frame and intended for artists’ use.

Atget then embarked on a series of picturesque views of Paris which include documentation of the small trades in his series Petits Métiers. He made views of gardens in the areas surrounding Paris, in the summer of 1901, photographing the gardens at Versailles, a challenging subject of large scale and with combinations of natural and architectural and sculptural elements which he would revisit until 1927, learning to make balanced compositions and perspectives.

Early in the 1900s, Atget began to document “Old Paris,” reading extensively in order to sympathetically focus on Paris architecture and environments dating prior to the French Revolution, concern over the preservation of which ensured him commercial success. He framed the winding streets to show the historic buildings in context, rather than making frontal architectural elevations.

Atget’s specialization in the imagery of Old Paris expanded his clientele. Amongst his scant surviving documents was his notebook, known by the word Repertoire on its cover (the French repertoire meaning a thumb-indexed address book or directory, but also defined, aptly in actor Atget’s case, as ‘a stock of plays, dances, or items that a company or a performer knows or is prepared to perform’). The book is now in the MoMA collection, and in it, he recorded the names and addresses of 460 clients; architects, interior decorators, builders and their artisans skilled in ironwork, wood panelling, door knockers, also painters, engravers, illustrators, and set designers, jewellers René Lalique and Weller, antiquarians and historians, artists including Tsuguharu Foujita, Maurice de Vlaminck and Georges Braque, well-known authors, editors, publishers Armand Colin and Hachette, and professors, including the many who donated their own collections of his photographs to institutions. The address book also lists contacts at publications, such as L’Illustration, Revue Hebdomadaire, Les Annales politiques et litteraires, and l’Art et des artistes. Institutional collectors of Old Paris documents, including archives, schools, and museums were also a keen clientele and brought him commercial success, with commissions from the Bibliotèque Historique de la Ville de Paris in 1906 and 1911 and the sale of various albums of photographs to the Bibliotèque Nationale.

Atget’s photographs attracted the attention of, and were purchased by, artists such as Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp and Picasso in the 1920s, as well as Maurice Utrillo, Edgar Degas and André Derain, some of whose views are seen from identical vantage-points at which Atget took pictures, and were likely made with the assistance of his photographs bought from the photographer for a few cents.

By the end of his career, Atget had worked methodically and concurrently on thirteen separate series of photographs including ‘Landscape Documents’, ‘Picturesque Paris’, ‘Art in Old Paris’, ‘Environs’, ‘Topography of Old Paris’, ‘Tuileries’, ‘Vielle France’, ‘Interiors’, ‘Saint Cloud’, ‘Versailles’, ‘Parisian Parks’, ‘Sceaux’ and a smaller series on costumes and religious arts, returning to subjects after they had been put aside for many years.

Surrealist appropriation
Man Ray lived in the same street in Paris as Atget. The rue Campagne-Premiere, Montparnasse, purchased almost fifty Atget’s and put them in an album with the name “Atget” (coll.). Man Ray and a date in 1926. Atget published many of his photographs in La Revolution surrealiste. The most notable was issue number 7, dated 15 June 1926. It featured Atget’s Pendant l’eclipse, a fourteen-year-old photograph showing a crowd gathered at Colonne de Juillet looking through various devices or their naked fingers at the Solar eclipse on 17 April 1912. Atget, however, didn’t consider himself a Surrealist. Ray asked Atget whether he would allow Ray to use his photograph. Atget replied, “Don’t put mine on it. These are documents that I create. Man Ray suggested that Atget’s photographs of stairs, doorways and ragpickers, especially those with window reflections or mannequins had a Dada- or Surrealist quality.

Recognition in America
He will be remembered for his urbanist history, genuine romanticism, love of Paris, and a Balzac of camera. His work is the thread that weaves a vast tapestry of French civilization.

— Berenice Abbott
After Atget’s death his friend, the actor André Calmettes, sorted his work into two categories; 2,000 records of historic Paris, and photographs of all other subjects. The former, he gave to the French government; the others he sold to the American photographer Berenice Abbott,

Atget took a detailed photographic record of Paris in the nineteenth century, as it was being transformed by modernization and its buildings were being demolished.

When Berenice Abbott reportedly asked him if the French appreciated his art, he responded ironically, “No, only young foreigners.” While Ray and Abbott claimed to have ‘discovered’ him around 1925, he was certainly not the unknown ‘primitive’ ‘tramp’ or ‘Douanier Rousseau of the street’ that they took him for; he had, since 1900, as counted by Alain Fourquier, 182 reproductions of 158 images in 29 publications and had sold, between 1898 and 1927 and beyond the postcards he published, sometimes more than 1000 pictures a year to public institutions including the Bibliothèque Nationale, Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Musée Carnavalet, Musée de Sculpture Comparé, École des Beaux-Arts, the Directorate of Fine Arts and others.

Abbott sold half her collection to Julian Levy during the 1930s Depression, when he owned a New York gallery. He was unable to sell the prints so he let Abbott keep them. Abbott and Levy sold their collection of Atgets in the 1960s to The Museum of Modern Art. The collection included 1415 glass negatives as well as nearly 8,000 vintage prints made from more than 4,000 different negatives.

The publication of his work in the United States after his death and the promotion of his work to English-speaking audiences was due to Berenice Abbott. She exhibited, printed and wrote about his work, and assembled a substantial archive of writings about his portfolio by herself and others. Abbott published Atget, Photographe de Paris in 1930, the first overview of his photographic oeuvre and the beginning of his international fame. She also published a book with prints she made from Atget’s negatives: The World of Atget (1964). Berenice Abbott and Eugene Atget was published in 2002.

Car and two motorcycles in front of garage, Rue de Valence, Paris, 1922. –
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Eugène Atget.

Atget’s photos focus on architecture and city. His work was reviewed and commented upon by Amanda Bouchenoire and Berenice Abbott in the book Structure and Harmony. Jerome Saltz analyses historicist perspectives on cities and architectures and discusses their aesthetic implications. “(…) The three authors share a common goal: to find and exalt intrinsic beauty in their goals, regardless of the quality or clarity of their sources.”

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images