Richard Avedon’s, In The American West: Art or Fashion?
For those who haven’t studied Avedon, a first glance may lead them to decide this is an excericse in highlighting the “not-so-fortunate-in-life”, people of lesser economic status, that it was his aim to exploit the sitters in some way. The possibility exists that Avedon shot this work combatively to his paid fashion work- a push against all things glamorous that he knew and depicted on a regular basis. One can only wonder if this entire project was his chance to do the opposite of what he did in his everyday business. No elaborate sets, no circus animals, no designer clothes on wardrobe racks. It would be regular people, himself, and a camera. It may have been a chance to photograph normal (or what he thought was normal) without sliding into the cliche “western” that could have included spurs, oil rigs, tycoons wearing ten gallon hats driving Cadillacs. Imagine the guff he would have received if this had been his results, but again, people would have expected this knowing his flamboyant fashion style.