Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Admiring Avedon



A couple of my owns shots from Sorrento, Italy (top and below right)

As a photographer, I find it hard not to feel a little envious of the life Earl Steinbicker has led. He had his own New York studio and later went on to become a travel writer. But more importantly, he spent 10 years working with iconic fashion photographer Richard Avedon, first as an 17-year-old assistant and later as his studio manager.


Steinbicker, now in his 70s, is in the process of writing a book about Avedon. In the meantime, he has shared many of his stories from his years with Avedon on a couple of blogs he maintains at Life's Little Adventures; The Avedon Years and at AssistingAvedon.com. I stumbled across the first blog several months ago and found myself mesmerized by Steinbicker's tales of working with Avedon as he  photographed some of the biggest stars of the 20th century, including Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and Jimmy Durante. A favorite tale was the trip they took to England to photograph the Beatles and watching Avedon engage in a drinking contest with Ringo Starr that ended with both men passed out in the studio,

I have been increasingly fascinated with Avedon for a couple of years now. I think it probably started with my trip in May 2007 to Italy, which reinvigorated my cultural interests. In November, I had the opportunity to see an exhibit of Avedon's work at the Detroit Institute of Arts. I was so in awe of what I saw that I was at Borders Books the next week, buying a $100 book "Avedon Fashion 1944-2000," containing the work that was part of that exhibit.

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