On Richard Avedon: Truman Capote’s 1959 Essay on the Master Photographer

Richard Avedon's portrait of Truman Capote from Observations, 1959

In 1959, Richard Avedon published his first collection of portraits, Observations.Included in the volume was this essay about Avedon’s work written by Truman Capote, who also supplied text accompanying Avedon’s photographs. The essay, titled “On Richard Avedon,” was published this week in Art in America: Writings From the Age of Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Minimalism(Library of America).

Richard Avedon is a man with gifted eyes. An adequate description; to add is sheer flourish. His brown and deceivingly normal eyes, so energetic at seeing the concealed and seizing the spirit, ceasing the flight of a truth, a mood, a face, are the important features: those, and his born-to-be absorption in his craft, photography, without which the unusual eyes, and the nervously sensitive intelligence supplying their power, could not dispel what they distillingly imbibe. For the truth is, though loquacious, an unskimping conversationalist, the sort that zigzags like a bee ambitious to depollen a dozen blossoms simultaneously, Avedon is not, not very, articulate: he finds his proper tongue in silence, and while maneuvering a camera—his voice, the one that speaks with admirable clarity, is the soft sound of the shutter forever freezing a moment focused by his perception.

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Source (http://www.vogue.com) (http://www.avedonfoundation.net)