Contemporaries who made commercial photography an art form.
It was hard to decide where to begin this blog. Commercial art has such a rich history. As an art director I've always loved photography. So two greats of the craft came immediately to mind.
Richard Avedon (1923-2004) and Irving Penn (1917-2009) each transformed photography. They defined what fashion, portraiture, advertising and editorial image-making could be and would become. I researched their respective stories and discovered they had similar backgrounds and explored similar themes in their work .
They were friends but didn't always view each others work the same. I suppose this was to be expected.
I thought it would be interesting to juxtaposition the a few of the photos by these two greats.
Richard Avedon grew up in New York City. His mother, Anna Avedon, came from a family of dress manufacturers, and his father, Jacob Israel Avedon, owned a clothing store called Avedon's Fifth Avenue. Inspired by his parents' clothing businesses, as a boy Avedon took a great interest in fashion, especially enjoying photographing the clothes in his father's store. At the age of 12, he joined the YMHA (Young Men's Hebrew Association) Camera Club.
Irving Penn initially intended to become a painter. But a job with Vogue magazine in the 1940s turned his focus to photography. His portraits of models and celebrities were often shot against bare backdrops with natural lighting.