Richard Avedon
[Photographer, b. 1923, New York, d. 2004, San Antonio, Texas.]

 I always prefer to work in the studio. It isolates people from their environment. They become in a sense... symbolic of themselves. 
 What is the function of a portrait? What degree of manipulation is correct, acceptable, between the sitter and the photographer, and should art concern itself with accuracy? 
 The photographs have a reality for me that the people don’t. It’s through the photographs that I know them. Maybe it’s in the nature of being a photographer. I’m really never implicated. I don’t have any real knowledge. 
 My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph. 
 Photography has always reminded me of the second child, trying to prove itself. The fact that it wasn’t really considered an art...that is was considered a craft...has trapped almost every serious photographer. 
 The way someone who’s being photographed presents himself to the camera and the effect of the photographer’s response on that presence is what the making of a portrait is about. 
 Everybody has a life. Everybody has a sensibility. Everybody has yearnings. Everybody has a cause to plead. And everybody has a camera. 
 The point is that you can’t get at the thing itself, the real nature of the sitter, by stripping away the surface. The surface is all you’ve got. You can only get beyond the surface by working with the surface. All that you can do is manipulate that surface—gesture, costume, expression—radically and correctly. 
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