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Someone Else

Peter Campbell, 17 April 1986

In the American West 
by Richard Avedon.
Thames and Hudson, 172 pp., £40, October 1985, 0 500 54110 8
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by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Thames and Hudson, 283 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 500 54109 4
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... The first picture in Richard Avedon’s folio is captioned ‘Alan Silvey, drifter, Route 93, Chloride, Nevada’. Such photographs were taken in the Dustbowl fifty years ago. But this is art, not documentation. We have learned a lot about photography since the Thirties, and now no one believes that truth is simple – ‘all photographs are accurate ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: The Portraits of Angus McBean, 3 August 2006

... photographs are memorable because the photographer has won a tug of war with the subject – Richard Avedon has described the process in his account of taking photographs of people picked out of the crowd in the American West. Unlike Avedon, McBean, who began his career as a mask-maker, didn’t look for ...

At the V&A

Brian Dillon: Cecil Beaton, 5 April 2012

... So when Beaton tried in the 1950s and 1960s to ape the intimate emptiness with which Penn and Richard Avedon surrounded their portrait sitters, the results were simply dull: the vacancy of the setting gives the photographer nothing to do but simper at the royals’ awkward approximations of normal family life. It was only in 1968, while preparing for ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis, 11 September 2008

... be icons if we knew nothing about the sitters. Even unforgettable photographs like the one Richard Avedon took of Pound in the late 1950s are attached to one time and place. The Lewis portraits represent the man rather than the man at a given moment. Eliot, hair neatly parted, three-piece grey suit, handkerchief in breast pocket, is the ...

At the Brunei Gallery

Peter Campbell: Indian photography, 1 November 2001

... downtrodden poor, filthy rich, or just lovable child – and which led some photographers, Richard Avedon for example, to borrow the ethnographic mode to suggest that the person in a picture can speak for him or her self.Official portraiture offered its own opportunities. James Waterhouse, who was having a terrible struggle with the heat on an ...

At the Imperial War Museum

Gaby Wood: Lee Miller, 17 December 2015

... Paul Strand would have envied; her parachute packer at HMS Heron had the kind of élan that Richard Avedon would strive for a decade later in his fashion spreads. She covered the home front for Vogue, and then, though she had lived in London for many years, her American passport allowed her to become one of only four female photojournalists ...

At Tate Modern

Brian Dillon: Klein/Moriyama, 22 November 2012

... he was the graphic equal of Irving Penn and a far stranger photographer than, say, David Bailey or Richard Avedon. But then he has long been ambivalent about his fashion photography; already in 1966 he had skewered that milieu with Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, the first in a series of satirical films that would take up much of his next decade. Klein ...

At the Munch Museum

Emily LaBarge: On Alice Neel, 5 October 2023

... an artist since the extensive surgery that followed his shooting by Valerie Solanas (the first was Richard Avedon) and Neel shows him looking diminutive, eyes closed, hands barely sketched and his left knee unpainted, as if his body is coming or going, or both. The scars criss-crossing his torso are picked out in flecks of pink. Light seems to radiate ...


John Burnside: Death and Photography, 18 December 2014

... ever have occurred to us, had we not learned them from TV? Some years ago, I met the photographer Richard Avedon when he came to take a group portrait of some Scottish writers in a Glasgow bar. By chance, I had recently been to see his retrospective exhibition, Evidence, at the National Portrait Gallery, and had become almost obsessed by the series of ...

White Hat/Black Hat

Frances Richard: 20th-Century Art, 6 April 2006

Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism 
by Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh.
Thames and Hudson, 704 pp., £45, March 2005, 0 500 23818 9
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... from El Lissitzky and Rodchenko in order to sell Dior. Through his students Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, he also helped to engineer the retro-fitting of ‘fine’ art with the styles and concerns of advertising. All this is hardly to scratch the surface of Art since 1900 and its proliferation of sub-narratives. Crafting a book like this is a ...

Can a rabbit talk to a cat?

Julian Barnes: Lartigue takes a leap, 7 April 2022

Lartigue: The Boy and the Belle Époque 
by Louise Baring.
Thames and Hudson, 192 pp., £28, April 2020, 978 0 500 02130 9
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Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Invention of Happiness 
by Denis Curti, Marion Perceval and Charles-Antoine Revol.
Marsilio, 208 pp., £40, July 2020, 978 88 297 0527 6
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... mid-leap over a flight of stone steps. Decades later, and self-referentially, Lartigue persuaded Richard Avedon to launch himself upwards, camera in hand, with a curling whip of flash cable snaking about in the air.The world he took part in and portrayed was one where Zola ran into Colette, where Nana met Gigi. And the names – or rather, the nicknames ...

I want to be her clothes

Kevin Kopelson: Kate Moss, 20 December 2012

Kate: The Kate Moss Book 
by Kate Moss, edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack.
Rizzoli, 368 pp., £50, November 2012, 978 0 8478 3790 8
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... gay) literary critic Michael Snediker, talking about the photograph of Moss, taken by Richard Avedon, to which he is ‘most attached’: ‘I like that she aestheticises noli me tangere. It’s not that she seems to be in a heroin stupor. It’s that she seems damaged from the outset, as though there’s nothing we (scopophilically or ...

Princess Diane

Penny Boumelha, 21 February 1985

Diane Arbus: A Biography 
by Patricia Bosworth.
Heinemann, 367 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 434 08150 7
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Inside the Onion 
by Howard Nemerov.
Chicago, 63 pp., £8.45, April 1984, 0 226 57244 7
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... de Antonio, Henry Geldzahler, Andy Warhol, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Tom Hess, Lisette Model, Richard Avedon, Marvin Israel, and the pop art collectors Robert and Ethel Scull.’ Bosworth’s concentration on the sex-and-society aspect of her subject’s life means that she rarely illuminates the work for us. There is, of course, a temptingly easy ...

Be interesting!

John Lanchester: Martin Amis, 6 July 2000

by Martin Amis.
Cape, 401 pp., £18, May 2000, 0 224 05060 5
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... Quote me some. Oh I see. You can’t.     No answer: only the extreme hooded-eye treatment. Richard Avedon would need a studio’s worth of lights and reflectors to rig up this expression on an unsuspecting Salman. At the moment, though, a passing waiter with an Instamatic could have easily bettered it. Nobody spoke. Not even Christopher ...


Alan Bennett: Where I was in 1993, 16 December 1993

... in the middle of a field.20 January. Collected by the New Yorker and taken to be photographed by Richard Avedon, now a grey-haired faun of 72 who says he’s bored with taking snapshots in the studio (this morning Isaiah Berlin and Stephen Spender) and wants to photograph me outside. ‘Outside’ means that eventually I find myself perched up a tree in ...

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