Parallel Spotlight: Evidence by Richard Avedon
We have our favorites and this book is definitely one of them. Richard Avedon is a master of photography and one of the most renowned photographers of the 20th century, his book "Evidence" is a landmark in the history of photography. Published in 1994, it features over 600 black-and-white photographs that Avedon took over the course of five decades.
The book is a departure from Avedon's previous works, which often focused on celebrities and fashion. Instead, "Evidence" is a collection of portraits of ordinary people that he shot in various locations around the world. Avedon's aim was to capture the essence of humanity, and he succeeded brilliantly.
What makes "Evidence" so remarkable is the way in which Avedon presents his subjects. The photographs are large, with each portrait taking up a full page or more. The backgrounds are stark white, making the people in the photographs stand out even more. Avedon's subjects look directly into the camera, with expressions that range from stoic to joyful. He is presenting without any context, which gives the possibility to the viewer to project their own thoughts and feelings onto the images. Avedon is challenging the traditional portrait format, rather than presenting his subjects in a traditional head-and-shoulders pose, he often photographed them from unusual angles or cropped the images in unexpected ways. This gives the photographs a dynamic quality that is often missing from traditional portraits.
In addition to the photographs themselves, "Evidence" also includes an essay by Avedon in which he reflects on his career and his approach to photography. He writes, "Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed." This statement encapsulates Avedon's approach to photography. "Evidence" is a masterful work of photography that is both beautiful and thought-provoking. If you are interested in photography or just want to be inspired, "Evidence" is a must.