Passion for fashion
The photographer's lens magnifies both personality and era, the seen and unseen. Richard Avedon, staff photographer for Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and The New Yorker, was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, famous for his revealing portraits of women. About 125 tritone and color photographs shot during his decades-long career are compiled in Woman in the Mirror 1945-2004. Avedon redefined the fashion photograph, making clothes another prop in his layered, staged scenarios where even the flare of a tulle skirt acted as punctuation. His photographs of fashion models in the '40s and '50s embody that formal and glamorous sartorial age in highly dramatic scenes mixing high and low, like his picture of a model clad in Balenciaga standing in a brick-lined alley in Le Marais, Paris, as acrobats perform tricks above her well-coiffed head. His portraits during the '60s (Janis Joplin, Brigitte Bardot, Claude and Paloma Picasso), '70s and '80s (fashion editor Polly Mellen in a too-tight skirt, the writer Marguerite Duras shrugging in ankle boots and a lumberjack shirt) continued to capture women ever more candidly at the intersection of fascinating and dangerous. That mood is summed up by a shot of leggy model Stephanie Seymour caught in mid-fall off high heels and still luminous in a Karl Lagerfeld dress for Chanel in a moment that surely broke a bone.