2023 would have been famed photographer Richard Avedon’s 100th birthday and to mark the occasion a host of celebrities have picked their favorite Avedon photograph.
Avdeon’s influence on photography cannot be overstated. Larry Gagosian, an art dealer who is hosting the Avedon 100 exhibition, says that “it is hard to get your arms around the entirety of Richard Avedon’s work and process just how enormous his influence has been.”
“Avedon’s unflinchingly frank aesthetic has become so much a part of the conventions of photographic portraiture it is easy to forget that he invented it,” he adds.
Avedon 100 turns the photographer’s ample portfolio into a new exhibition a book also called Avedon 100.
The images were selected by a wide range of notable figures across politics, fashion, Hollywood, and art.
Calvin Klein selected a photo of Brooke Shields posing for Avedon’s lens in 1980. The actress called his photo shoots “a nonjudgmental exchange of creativity and an exploration of the unexpected.”
Emma Watson, star of the Harry Potter franchise, highlights Avedon’s commitment to equity between races and sexes.
“Avedon was a pioneer of allyship for diversity in the fashion world,” Watson says in Avedon 100.
“We see it many times, including with his insistence that fashion magazines use images of women of color, like the time he threatened to quit working for Harper’s Bazaar if the publication didn’t run a now-iconic 1958 portrait of China Machado ashing a cigarette.”
Among the many remarkable images on view at Gagosian are Avedon’s rarely exhibited mural featuring multiple images of a dancing Marilyn Monroe, created from a sitting in 1957 that also produced his iconic “sad” Marilyn.
His dynamic 1971 portrait of Tina Turner is printed at a monumental scale and was selected for the exhibition by Tonne Goodman.
In many cases, the link between a photograph and its selector enhances the work’s already powerful impact. Hillary Clinton, for example, has chosen Avedon’s 2003 portrait of her for The New Yorker, while Taryn Simon sought out a 1994 image of Salman Rushdie, inscribed by Avedon to the writer “Yours, in the struggle—Dick,” and loaned by Rushdie for exhibition.
Avedon 100 opened at Gagosian on May 4 and run until June 24 in New York City. The book is available here.