Richard Avedon was born in NY in 1923, and became famous primarily for his work at Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Look , and other magazines. During his early years as a photographer, Avedon got most of his work in advertising, but his real passion was the portrait and its ability to express the essence in a subject. Aside from his work with celebrities, he also spent years photographing patients in mental hospitals and working-class Americans.
What has always really struck me about Avedon's work is his ability to include so much movement and kinetic energy in his portraits. Typically, he worked with a very minimalist background and his subjects were encouraged to move freely, giving his portraits a great sense of spontaneity. Even those portraits where the subject is still and shot relatively close up, you get the feeling that they've been caught mid-thought, or even mid-sentence. In his images, we can see so many celebrities as no photographer had shown them. How often do we see a portrait of Marilyn Monroe where she isn't smiling?