Inside the counter-culture: An intimate look at Warhol, Ginsberg and friends through the radical lens of legendary photographer Richard Avedon
PUBLISHED: 00:59 EST, 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 01:37 EST, 18 May 2012
Richard Avedon was one of the most well-known fashion and portrait photographers in American history. However, many of his photographs had a distinctly political flavor.
His work photographing hippies, artists and icons of the beat generation was said to capture their very essence and offer an inside look at the counter-culture in a way that few portrait shooters have been able to match.
A collection of his radical portraits are on display at Gagosian Gallery in New York City this summer.
The counter-culture: Allen Ginsberg, the beatnik poet, was a frequent subject. This work is titled: Louis Ginsberg and his son Allen Ginsberg, poets, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970
Allen Ginsberg’s family: Hannah (Honey) Litzky, aunt; Leo Litzky, uncle; Abe Ginsberg, uncle; Anna Ginsberg, aunt; Louis Ginsberg, father; Eugene Brooks, brother; Allen Ginsberg, poet; Anne Brooks, niece; Peter Brooks, nephew; Connie Brooks, sister-in-law; Lyle Brooks, nephew; Eugene Brooks; Neal Brooks, nephew; Edith Ginsberg, stepmother; Louis Ginsberg, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970
Avedon was known for shooting stark, minimalist portraits of his subjects that let their own personalities shine through.
‘A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he’s being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he’s wearing or how he looks,’ he said, according to the Atlantic.
The beatnik-generation luminary Allen Ginsberg was one of Avedon’s famous subjects. He photographed the poet in 1968 as he embraced and kissed his longtime lover, Peter Orlovsky.
He photographed the Chicago Seven, the protestors who were charged with inspiring a riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey, director; Taylor Mead, actor; Brigid Polk, actress; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Andy Warhol, artist, New York, October 9, 1969
Andy Warhol, artist, New York, August 14, 1969
Andy Warhol was another subject whom Avedon exposed to his camera lens. He captured the scars on his chest left by a 1968 murder attempt.
Not all of Avedon’s subjects were trend-setters outside the mainstream.
He convinced Rose Mary Woods, President Richard Nixon’s secretary, to stand for a portrait.
The Mission Council, which helped dictate the US involvement in the Vietnam War, also stood for a photograph.
Avedon died of a brain hemorrhage in 2004 while on assignment for The New Yorker.
The exhibit, titled Richard Avedon Murals & Portraits, is on display at Gagosian Gallery, West 21st Street in New York City, through July 6.
The Mission Council: Hawthorne Q. Mills, Mission Coordinator; Ernest J. Colantonio, Counselor of Embassy for Administrative Affairs; Edward J. Nickel, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs; John E. McGowan, Minister Counselor for Press Affairs; George D. Jacobson, Assistant Chief of Staff, Civil Operations and Rural Development Support; General Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam; Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker; Deputy Ambassador Samuel D. Berger; John R. Mossler, Minister and Director, United States Agency for International Development; Charles A. Cooper, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs; and Laurin B. Askew, Counselor of Embassy for Political Affairs, Saigon, South Vietnam, April 28, 1971
Lovers: Avedon captured this intimate moment between Ginsberg and his longtime lover. The portrait is titled: Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, poets, New York, December 30, 1963
Florynce Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, New York, August 1, 1969
Dao Dua, “The Coconut Monk,” Mekong Monastery, Phoenix Island, South Vietnam, April 14, 1971
Rose Mary Woods, secretary to President Richard Nixon, Washington, D.C., August 10, 1975