Richard Avedon (1923-2004) is regarded worldwide as one of the greatest photographers of all time. I was privileged to be his assistant from mid-1952 through 1956, and again from late 1959 until late 1965. There were a great many little adventures during those ten years, and many happy memories. As I remember them while going through my old photos and notes, I am posting them here. Click on each to read the entire article.
Part I: Becoming a Professional Photographer — 1952. How a 17-year-old high school senior in Allentown PA contacted the great master, asked for a job — and got it.
Part II: My First Career Begins — 1952. Freshly graduated and just turned 18, it's off to New York City and a new life.
Part III: First Months On The Job — 1952. It wasn't all fun, but some of it was. And that's what I remember.
Part IV: Assisting Richard Avedon — 1952-56. More little adventures, from California to Jamaica.
Part V: How Those Great B&W Prints Were Made. The inside story about now-obsolete darkroom techniques.
Part VI: A Milestone is Reached — California 1955. The greatest adventure of my life up until then.
Part VII: Assisting Richard Avedon — 1959-1962. Back from my army service, I move up the ladder at the Avedon studio.
Part VIII: The First Time I Saw Paris — 1962. Now promoted to studio manager, I get the big annual assignment to work in Europe.
Part IX: Changes Come To The Avedon Studio — 1962-65. New technologies are adopted for greater efficiency, Alas, they are now completely obsolete.
Part X: The Famous Photographers School. A mostly-forgotten part of Avedon's career is remembered.
Part XI: Nothing Personal. Adventures in creating the second of Avedon's 12 photo books, this in 1963-64.
Part XII: Photographing The Beatles. We're off to London in January 1965 to pose the Fab Four as astronauts.
Part XIII: A Hanging at the Smithsonian. We hang an exhibition of Avedon's photographs in the Smithsonian Institution in 1962.
Part XIV: Covering the Paris Collections. Memories of wonderful times in Paris, from 1962 through 1965.
Part XV: My First Experiences at Writing for Pay. My position with Avedon opens new opportunities.
Part XVI: Defiling a Castle in Spain. A 1960's escapade in which we take forbidden photos in the Alhambra Palace.
Part XVII: About Cameras. What cameras did Avedon use? Find out here.
Part XVIII: The Kennedys. Avedon's 1961 pre-inaugural portraits of the First Family are published in book form.
Part XIX: Personal Life. Recollections of my personal relationship with Avedon and his family.
Part XX: Lighting Techniques. How Avedon lit his pictures in the earlier years.
Part XXI: Avedon's Studios. Where he worked. This first post shows the studio he had until 1954, with a floor layout and exterior photo.
PART XXII: Avedon's Other Side. How advertising photography paid for the work that made him famous.
PART XXIII: Photographing Hair in the Sun. Trips to Phoenix and Las Vegas to advertise Clairol hair products.
PART XXIV: Avedon's Real Talent. His genius transcended cameras or photographic technique and was more a matter of psychology.
PART XXV: Avedon's Next Studio. After Madison Avenue he moved to East 49th Street. This post shows a floor layout and photos.
PART XXVI: An Invitation to Participate. More information is needed to flesh out details of his career.
PART XXVII: Assisting Avedon. About the people who worked for and with him in the 1950s and '60s.
PART XXVIII: Leaving Avedon. I finally got up the nerve to head out on my own.
PART XXIX: Visiting the Avedon Foundation: I am invited to an interview and video session in New York.
PART XXX: The 58th Street Studio: With a floor diagram.
PART XXXI: Mobility in Studio Lighting: Avedon's use of hand-held lights.
PART XXXII: Music and Wind Makes the Studio Hum. How the use of a wind machine and records enlivened sessions.
Part XXXIII: The La Dolce Vita Influence. How Fellini's 1960 movie opened the way for a new take on fashion photography.
Part XXXIV: Mug Shots. "Richard Avedon Portraits of Power" exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington.
Part XXXV: Testing, 1-2-3. How we maintained quality film processing.
Part XXXVI: Why 8x10? Why Avedon used large-format cameras.
Part XXXVII: About That Ubiquitous White Background. How Avedon isolated his subjects from any context.
Part XXXVIII: Museum Exhibitions. Two new museum exhibitions of Avedon's work, in Amsterdam and New York.
Part XXXIX: On Being an Assistant Photographer. Some advice for those interested.
Part XL: Avedon's Books. A roundup of books by and about Richard Avedon.
Part XLI: Darkness & Light. PBS American Masters' homage to Avedon, on DVD
Part XLII: Paying For Portraits? Why Avedon did not do portraits for hire. He chose his subjects; they did not choose him.
Part XLIII: When Photography Became Art. Thoughts about the Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 exhibition in New York.
Part XLIV: Think Pink — The Making of Funny Face. All about a wonderful 1957 movie based on Avedon's photography.
Part XLV: In Cold Blood. Avedon's participation in Truman Capote's factfinding mission for his masterwork book, In Cold Blood.
Part XLVIII: Glamour Daze website about Avedon and I.https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/assisting-avedon/id584943280?mt=8