Avedon

Something Personal
Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
Length: 22 hrs and 57 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
4.4 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An intimate biography of Richard Avedon, the legendary fashion and portrait photographer who “helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture” (The New York Times) by his longtime collaborator and business partner Norma Stevens and award-winning author Steven M. L. Aronson. 

Richard Avedon was arguably the world’s most famous photographer - as artistically influential as he was commercially successful. Over six richly productive decades, he created landmark advertising campaigns, iconic fashion photographs (as the star photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and then Vogue), groundbreaking books, and unforgettable portraits of everyone who was anyone. He also went on the road to find and photograph remarkable uncelebrated faces, with an eye toward constructing a grand composite picture of America. 

Avedon dazzled even his most dazzling subjects. He possessed a mystique so unique it was itself a kind of genius - everyone fell under his spell. But the Richard Avedon the world saw was perhaps his greatest creation: He relentlessly curated his reputation and controlled his image, managing to remain, for all his exposure, among the most private of celebrities. No one knew him better than did Norma Stevens, who for 30 years was his business partner and closest confidante. In Avedon: Something Personal - equal parts memoir, biography, and oral history, including an intimate portrait of the legendary Avedon studio - Stevens and coauthor Steven M. L. Aronson masterfully trace Avedon’s life from his birth to his death, in 2004, at the age of 81, while at work in Texas for The New Yorker (whose first-ever staff photographer he had become in 1992). The book contains startlingly candid reminiscences by Mike Nichols, Calvin Klein, Claude Picasso, Renata Adler, Brooke Shields, David Remnick, Naomi Campbell, Twyla Tharp, Jerry Hall, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bruce Weber, Cindy Crawford, Donatella Versace, Jann Wenner, and Isabella Rossellini, among dozens of others. 

Avedon: Something Personal is the confiding, compelling full story of a man who for half a century was an enormous influence on both high and popular culture, on both fashion and art - to this day he remains the only artist to have had not one but two retrospectives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during his lifetime. Not unlike Richard Avedon’s own defining portraits, the book delivers the person beneath the surface, with all his contradictions and complexities, and in all his touching humanity.

Photograph of Richard Avedon © Gideon Lewin

©2017 Random House Audio (P)2017 Norma Stevens & Steven M. L. Aronson

Critic Reviews

"It's a good time, this book.... [Norma] Stevens is most illuminating in her behind-the-scenes glimpses of [Richard] Avedon's work.... Everyone saw one side of him - but together the testimonials of his assistants, models and lovers add up to a mosaic of the man. The snapshots are affectionate and admiring, and the contradictions in them can give you whiplash." (The New York Times)

"Intimate and dishy in its conversational tone, the book makes you feel as though you are nose to nose trading stories with a vivacious confidant.... It's a saucy meandering from anecdote to anecdote.... Stevens and [Steven M. L.] Aronson have telescoped Avedon's star into much clearer view." (Chicago Tribune)

"Although the bitchier and more salacious anecdotes...will likely earn the book a good deal of attention, the cast of characters is most interesting when discussing Avedon's central struggle: Should he direct his talents to selling the lie or revealing the truth?... The composite portrait that emerges...depicts a frantic, insecure artist consumed by ambition. Testimonies...also reveal a man capable of great generosity and unadulterated joy." (The Wall Street Journal)

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fantastic and love this narrator

wonderful and thorough book with an excellent narrator who is good at keeping it interesting.

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