200 word line of enquiry- Richard Avedon

How has Richard Avedon’s series ‘In the American West’ influenced and effected commercial fashion photography today and why? An investigation into why ‘In the American West’ has had such an impact and why as it was initially taken as portrait photography, not fashion.

 Necessary content: Include some of Richard Avedon’s inspiration such as Alexey Brodovitch his art director. Look into Steve Pyke’s work (portraits also not in the studio), give a quick comparison to their work and how they are different.

‘In the American West’: Detailed look into this series of work.. Why did Avedon shoot this? Initial ideas. How did he shoot this? Not in the studio. People’s opinions on the series (Avedon, tutors, peers, online etc.). How have the images influenced fashion? Gap (Richard Avedon and Albert Watson), CKone (Steven Meisel). Why didn’t Avedon shoot this series in the studio? Truthfulness, spontaneity, not fake. Ordinary people becoming fashion icons, the working class look. Initial reaction from the public, outrage. Used to romanticising images of the west.

Quote from Avedon: ‘A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion.’ ‘A portrait photographer depends upon another person to complete his picture.’ ‘There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph.’ Chose a quote and talk about it.

Conclusion: Back to the original question, has the impact been big and successful? Why do you think it influenced the fashion world so much? REAL LIFE.

Themes: Truthfulness, heritage, honesty authenticity, tradition