Monday, 8 November 2010

Another LCF homework piece

Richard Avedon – Fashion Photographer

Twiggy, Paris Studio, January 1968

Gazing up, as if looking into another world, Richard Avedon has captured the infamous Twiggy Lawson with her long, thick hair fluttering effortlessly up and around her pixie-like face. Taken in the height of her career as a supermodel, two years after she was signed in 1966, this photograph shows her truly ethereal beauty. In Avedon’s Parisian studio, we see Twiggy against a neutral, plain background so as not to detract from her striking features and impossible amount of hair. Light falling from above, highlights the depth of her tresses and her youthful, porcelain skin. The black and white image has its lightest tones on the skin of the model; with darker shades only in the background and the many layers of her hair. Pale, delicate skin allows deep, dark eyes to catch your attention. Her endless thick eyelashes, a signature look, stand out against the soft focus of the rest of the photograph.

The style of the image is very simplistic and yet is not a straightforward portrait. Twiggy looks delicate and other-worldly. This photograph shows all eyes on her and Avedon has caught the supermodel in a pure state – she looks flawless, serene. The natural look reflects the ideals of the hippie 60’s era in which this image was taken. A time of love, not war.

Twiggy has said that her modelling career “was like a dream come true, a fairy story”. Richard Avedon’s image certainly confirms this dream-like life. She appears both entranced and distracted. The viewer can only begin to imagine what she is looking at. Possibly off into another realm, fabricated only by imagination. If her success as a model was a fairy story, it seems that Twiggy herself is the magical creature in the tale. Looking at this image: the models slim neck, narrow shoulders and large eyes, Avedon portrays her as an enchanted spirit. She is full of life and grace as her hair dances, framing her perfectly dainty face.

Avedon was truly a brilliant photographer. He has illuminated Twiggy Lawson’s pure beauty, captured her magic. This photograph is a breath of mythical fresh air.

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