Thursday, October 25, 2012

Avedon Slept Here

Avedon home photo from here

I was browsing in East End Stories, a great section of the Parrish Art Museum website, and noticed that works by Richard Avedon are in the Parrish collection. I didn't realize that Richard Avedon had a Montauk home from the 1980s until 2000.  Avedon must have loved the East End for years before he had a home here. In 1963 he photographed Suzy Parker in an ad for Revlon Stormy Pink nail polish that involved a horse in the surf off the beach in Montauk. This story is recounted by one of Avedon's assistants, Earl Steinbicker in a blog/memoir. Steinbicker quotes model Suzy Parker,
photo from here

"We worked at night (double the fee) off Montauk Point, in the ocean, and I had to hold a stallion. We really did that. It was very dangerous because it was windy and the pebbles kept rolling out from beneath the horse's feet and I'm trying to hold him down. We worked on that for almost six hours in the middle of the night, in the middle of the ocean (well, not quite), and I was in a chiffon dress.  I think the reason I was such a good model wasn't that I was such a particular beauty or anything, but that I was as strong as a horse & that occasion proved it." - Suzy Parker"

Avedon by Ted Thai
I found the story above Google-stalking "Avedon Montauk photos". I was hoping to see that he had taken snaps around the house of his ocean view etc. I didn't find any online. Curious. Perhaps he just didn't wish to use his instrument, the camera, for such casual pursuits. Avedon took photography from commerce to a high art form. Finding out more about him will take more than just a few searches typed into Google. You can check out:  The Richard Avedon Foundation for more and I will too.
I got on this wild Google chase because I was thinking about capturing the visual beauty of the area though the photographic image as well as the painted one. Looking at the stones and shells in the surf of Peconic Bay. Fooling around with an ollo clip on my iphone in the garden:

Taking snaps with the Canon Powershot while being a surf widow.
Rough day in Montauk! You can see why I stayed on the sand. 
What camera is working for you these days? 


  1. Hey Gail, great article! I'm an Avedon fan too. As a kid, I actually got to meet him when I accompanied my father, then an art director with J Walter Thompson on a shoot with Avedon and the model Verushka back in the late sixties. More recently, I saw a wonderful retrospective of his work in Berlin. A good article about that, and his passion for shooting people, whether glamorous or in despair can be found at:

    1. Louise, that is SO cool. What a wonderful memory for you... Will definitely check out that site. Thanks!


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