Norma Stevens: Avedon: Something Personal


Something Personal is an intimate biography of legendary fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon.
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An intimate biography of Richard Avedon, the legendary fashion andportrait photographer who "helped define America's image of style,beauty and culture" (The New York Times), by his longtime collaboratorand business partner Norma Stevens and award-winning author Steven M. L.Aronson. Richard Avedon was arguably the world's most famousphotographer--as artistically influential as he was commerciallysuccessful. Over six richly productive decades, he created landmarkadvertising campaigns, iconic fashion photographs (as the starphotographer for Harper's Bazaar and then Vogue), groundbreaking books,and unforgettable portraits of everyone who was anyone. He also went onthe road to find and photograph remarkable uncelebrated faces, with aneye toward constructing a grand composite picture of America. Avedondazzled even his most dazzling subjects. He possessed a mystique sounique 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 ofcelebrities. No one knew him better than did Norma Stevens, who forthirty years was his business partner and closest confidant. In Avedon:Something Personal--equal parts memoir, biography, and oral history,including an intimate portrait of the legendary Avedon studio--Stevensand co-author Steven M. L. Aronson masterfully trace Avedon's life fromhis birth to his death, in 2004, at the age of eighty-one, while at workin Texas for The New Yorker (whose first-ever staff photographer he hadbecome in 1992). The book contains startlingly candid reminiscences byMike Nichols, Calvin Klein, Claude Picasso, Renata Adler, BrookeShields, David Remnick, Naomi Campbell, Twyla Tharp, Jerry Hall, MikhailBaryshnikov, Bruce Weber, Cindy Crawford, Donatella Versace, JannWenner, and Isabella Rossellini, among dozens of others.

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

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