cover image Richard Avedon Portraits

Richard Avedon Portraits

Richard Avedon. ABRAMS, $35 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3540-2

The subject of an upcoming retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Avedon long ago entered the canon of fashion photography and modern portraiture. His trademark images of people standing against white backdrops, at once unflinching and glamorous in their effect, have helped define our idea of celebrity itself (if Avedon shot them, they must be famous). This slipcased, accordion-fold collection of 50 black and white portraits from the past 50 years, produced for the exhibition and including an essay by curator Maria Morris Hambourg and Met research assistant Mia Fineman, as well as a brief word from the photographer himself, will do little to change Avedon's reputation. It offers, in essence, a greatest hits collection of well-known faces---Andy Warhol, William Burroughs, and that pale, hairless beekeeper covered in bugs. For those unfamiliar with Avedon's work, or for true completists, the classy package of tri-tone reproductions will prove enticing.