Nastassja Kinski, Los Angeles, June 14, 1981 Photography by Richard Avedon
A new photo book chronicles the relationships Richard Avedon had with his sitters like Truman Capote and Donatella Versace. “I think charm is the ability to be truly interested in other people,” he said
“My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph,” said Richard Avedon, offering a revelatory look at the inner workings of his creative process. Although he disliked having a large format camera come between them, its presence allowed luminaries like Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, and Allen Ginsberg to lay themselves bare, exposing their bodies, scars, and vulnerabilities with care.
Avedon brought liberators like Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, and the Young Lords into his studio just as he opened the door to radical right-wingers like Henry Kissinger, George H W Bush, and George Wallace. Navigating the vast chasm of American politics required diplomacy, discernment, and a singular curiosity few possess – but Avedon had it in spades.