Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Exhibition Report: Avedon Fashion 1944-2000

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Currently my ship is in Dry Dock. This means they take the ship right out of the water and make improvements and repairs to it. My ship is about 6 years old now so this is a routine dry dock, not an emergency or anything!

Luckily for me, we are dry docked in Boston, one of my favourite places! I also discovered that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has three exhibitions going on at the moment that I really wanted to see:
Avedon Fashion 1944-2000, The fashion photography of Richard Avedon, Scaasi: American Couturier, select fashions by Arnold Scaasi and Embroideries of Colonial Boston: Samplers, a selection of Samplers from the 18th Century. I will post about each one individually, so lets begin with the fashion photography of Avedon.

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Avedon began his photographic career in the army taking id photos but after World War two he was thrust into the work of fashion. He has photographed covers for Haper’s Bazaar and Vogue and was the first resident photographer for the New Yorker. His use of light and focus is astounding. Most of the work on display was tradition black and white, which Avedon used to his advantage emphasizing shapes and silhouettes on the models. His photos of Suzie Parker are always playful, showing real people, not just models.

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He was challenged to show the original beauty of Paris while it was still in its post-war stages, which he did to remarkable effect. His photos in the Moulin Rouge, Cirque D’Hiver and on the street brought Paris back to life.

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One of my favourite sets of photos in the exhibition was one of the most modern. In colour and using a live model and a skeleton, Avedon photographed haute couture against a wasteland backdrop. The pieces are lingering and emotional in an unspeakable way.

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Most of all Avedon’s work is simple and clean. His shots are not always in focus, but that is part of their beauty, capturing the movement of the woman inside the fashion. His pieces bring out the inner beauty of his subjects to compliment themselves and what they wear.

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