Richard Avedon was an American photographer, born on May 15, 1923 in New York City. He began as a photographer for the Merchant Marines, taking identification pictures with his Rolleiflex camera given to him by his father. Soon after, he opened up his own studio and entered the world of fashion, taking pictures for publications like Harper's Bazaar, Life, and Vogue. The standard, during his time, was to photograph models as merely hangers for the clothing. Avedon was one of the first photographers to photograph his models with life and feeling.
Later in his life, Avedon moved away from fashion photography and more towards portraiture. He photographed musicians, writers, politicians, actors, etc. on a white or gray background. He considered this to be the work that had more meaning for him: "There's always been a separation between fashion and what I call my "deeper" work. Fashion is where I make my living. I'm not knocking it. It's a pleasure to make a living that way. It's pleasure, and then there's the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits. It's not important what I consider myself to be, but I consider myself to be a portrait photographer" (Avedon, 1974).