My fascination with cameras began at about age 5, and by age 12 I had my own darkroom. At age 18 I became an assistant to the famous photographer Richard Avedon, and later his studio manager. Then, in 1965 a friend and I opened our own commercial studio in New York City, which thrived for the next 15 years. Although I am now a writer and book editor, I still take plenty of pictures for those books and for this blog. And also because I enjoy it so much.
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STARTING OUT IN PHOTOGRAPHY...An early start leads to a big break. Long before I ever though of travel or publishing, I developed an interest in photography, which led to becoming an assistant to one of the world's greatest photographers. So, to start at the beginning:
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART I: Becoming a Professional Photographer. How a 17-year-old high school senior in Allentown, PA contacted the great master, asked for a job — and got it.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART II: My First Career Begins. Freshly graduated and just turned 18, it's off to New York City and a new life.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART III: First Months On The Job. It wasn't all fun, but some of it was. And that's what I remember.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART IV: Assisting Richard Avedon. More little adventures, from California to Jamaica.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART V: How Those Great B&W Prints Were Made. The inside story about now-obsolete darkroom techniques.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART VI: A Milestone is Reached — California 1955. The greatest adventure of my life up until then.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART VII: Assisting Richard Avedon — 1959-1962. Back from my army service, I move up the ladder at the Avedon studio.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART VIII: The First Time I Saw Paris. Now promoted to studio manager, I get the big annual assignment to work in Europe.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART IX: Changes Come To The Avedon Studio. New technologies are adopted for greater efficiency. Alas, they are now completely obsolete.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART X: The Famous Photographers School. A mostly-forgotten part of Avedon's career is remembered.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XI: Nothing Personal. Adventures in producing a most unusual book of photographs by the great master.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XII: Photographing The Beatles. We're off to London in January 1965 to photograph Fab Four, as astronauts no less.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XIII: A Hanging at the Smithsonian. We hang an exhibition of Avedon's photographs in the Smithsonian Institution in 1962.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XIV: Covering the Paris Collections. It's off to Paris for the Fall Couture Collections.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XV: My First Experience at Writing for Pay. My position with Avedon opens new opportunities.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XVI: Defiling a castle in Spain. We do forbidden photos at the Alhambra, then flee the country.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XVII: About Cameras. What cameras did Avedon use? Find out here.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XVIII: The Kennedys. Avedon takes pre-inaugural portraits of the First Family.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XIX: Personal Life. Find out a bit about his personal life.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XX: Lighting Techniques. How Avedon lit his pictures in the earlier years.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXI: Avedon's Studios. This thread begins with a description and floor plan of his studio in the early 1950s.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXII: Avedon's Other Side. How advertising photography financed his creative side.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXIII: Photographing Hair in the Sun. A series of fun-filled location trips for Clairol hair products.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXIV: Avedon's Real Talent. A look into just what made him so great — it wasn't cameras or photographic skills.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXV: Avedon's Studios, Part 2. The studio moved to East 49th Street in 1954.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXVII: Assisting Avedon. About the people who worked for and with him in the 1950s and '60s.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXVI: An Invitation to Participate. An appeal for more information about his life.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXVIII: Leaving Avedon. I finally got up the nerve to head out on my own.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXIX: Visiting the Avedon Foundation. I am invited to an interview and video session in New York.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXX: The 58th Street Studio, with a floor diagram and lighting setup.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXI: Mobility in Studio Lighting. Avedon's use of hand-held lights.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXII: Music and the Wind makes the studio hum.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXIII: How La Dolce Vita influenced the master.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXIV: Mug Shots: Portraits of Power.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXV: Testing, 1-2-3. How we maintained quality film processing.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXVI: Why 8x10? Why Avedon used a large-format camera.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXVII: About That Ubiquitous White Background. How Avedon isolated his subjects from any context.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXVIII: Museum exhibitions. Two new exhibitions of the master's work, in Amsterdam and New York.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XXXIX: On Being an Assistant Photographer. Some advice for those interested.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XL: Avedon's books. A roundup of books by and about Richard Avedon.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XLI: Darkness & Light. PBS American Masters' homage to Avedon, on DVD.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XLII: Paying for Portraits? Avedon chose his subjects; they didn't chose him.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XLIII: When Photography Became Art.
THE AVEDON YEARS, PART XLIV: Think Pink - The Making of Funny Face.
OUR PHOTO STUDIO, PART I: How, with little money and few contacts, Jim and I took the plunge and went out on our own.
OUR PHOTO STUDIO, PART II: Business Begins. Those first clients and how they got us off the ground.
OUR PHOTO STUDIO, PART III: We move to Fifth Avenue. Now profitable, Steinbicker/Houghton Inc. moves to new quarters on New York's Fifth Avenue.
OUR PHOTO STUDIO, PART IV: On assignment for Time-Life Books, we travel to Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C. to photograph all sorts of people, including some in the Capitol and the White House.
OUR STUDIO, PART V: Touring the Pacific for Pan Am.
OUR PHOTO STUDIO, PART VI: Working on the railroad. We do assignments for Amtrak and I get to ride up front with the engineer.
OUR PHOTO STUDIO, PART VII: Shooting fashions in Jamaica. We spend a week with a famous designer away from the tourist haunts.
OUR STUDIO, PART VIII: What's a Go-See? How both photographers and their models develop skills and build portfolios.
OUR STUDIO, PART IX: Los Angeles on Pocket Change.
OUR STUDIO, PART X: Rockin' in the Bahamas. We travel to Nassau to do an album cover for prog rockers Emerson. Lake & Palmer.
OUR STUDIO, PART XI: To Specialize or not to Specialize — That is the Question.
OUR STUDIO, PART XII: Highway to Hell — we do the cover for AC/DC's first really big rock album.
OUR STUDIO, PART XIII: Hard times in the Photo Business — an attempt to unionize New York's commercial photography fails.
OUR STUDIO, PART XIV: Working on a Movie Set for TWA — we do advertising photos inside a plane mockup in Los Angeles.
OUR STUDIO, PART XV: Why we HAD to be in New York, why no place else would do.
OUR STUDIO, PART XVI: Our first photo assignment in Europe. We capture the visual essence of three operas.
OUR STUDIO, PART XVII: The Cameras We Used.
OUR STUDIO, PART XVIII: Location Vans.
OUR STUDIO, PART XIX: Photographing Chicago (The Band, not the City).
OUR STUDIO, PART XX: A Chance Meeting with a King.
OUR STUDIO, PART XXI: Photographic Studio Lighting for Hair and Cosmetics.
ADVENTURES IN SUPER 8: I try making movies.
CONVERTING SUPER 8 TO DVD: Includes a sample viseo!
CONVERTING COLOR PHOTOS TO B&W: How a once difficult procedure was made easy.
PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANTS: An article I wrote in a trade journal back in 1965 about the hiring of assist photographers and what to look for in them.
MY JUNK CAMERAS: A professional photographer admits his love of oddball cameras.
RESURRECTION: Bringing the junk cameras back to life.
My Junk Cameras, Part III: The first results are in.
LARGE FORMAT PHIOTOGRAPHY FORUM: A discussion group about big cameras.
A Fond Farewell To Kodachrome: After a 74-year run, Kodak's classic color film is being retired.
Flipping for the Flip: A tiny new video camera enters my life.
A Long-Forgotten Photographic Process: Turning black-and-white photos into full color back in the 1950s.
DOWNLOAD my "Assisting Avedon" app for iPhone/iPad here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/assisting-avedon/id584943280?mt=8