Fashion Photography Snapshot: Richard Avedon

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph. – Matt Hardy

Fashion history has long been immortalized on film.   We all surely have certain fashion photos that are burned in our memories, capturing moments in time – moments that stay with us long after the pages have turned.   The photograph can show both motion and emotion.   It’s a still, yet it radiates energy.


The dream for many designers and models alike is to have a fashion spread in a notable magazine, where their work is captured in the perfect lighting at the perfect moment, transforming it from snapshots into art.   As we browse Vogue and Cosmo, we shouldn’t forget who’s on the other side of the camera, making the magic come to life: the fashion photographer.   The fashion photographer offers us a window into another world – the world of fashion (whether ready-to-wear or couture) – with all of its passion, elegance and vulnerability.

One of our favorite fashion photographers is Richard Avedon.  After Avedon’s death in 2004, his New York Times obituary said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.”  In a career that spanned 60 years, Avedon is responsible for some of the most famous fashion advertising photos, including Brooke Shields’ first Calvin Klein campaign:


Avedon was more than just a commercial photographer – he was also one of the most prolific Vogue photographers of all time.  In total, he shot 148 Vogue covers, including this one of Twiggy from 1967:


Avedon also produced images that were considered high art, including this 1955 photo of Dovima wearing a Dior evening dress, with elephants from the Cirque D’Hiver in Paris.  In 2010, this photo sold for over $1.1 million at Christie’s:

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.23.11 PM

The fashion photographer is our tour guide into a world that many of us can only observe.  That is the beauty of photography: it takes us places and communicates immediately what can’t be described any other way.  In literally an instant, the photographer creates an impression worth well over a thousand words (or in this case, well over a million dollars).

Real people move, they bear with them the element of time. It is this fourth dimension of people that I try to capture in a photograph.  –  Richard Avedon

One of our favorite characteristics of many Avedon photographs is their sense of motion.   When looking at Avedon’s work, we can imagine the woman he’s representing.   We can almost feel her style.   Avedon’s work captures the element of time and yet is timeless:

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.35.46 AM

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.34.24 AM


And while he was brilliant at capturing motion, Avedon was also a master of the still portrait:



Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.38.28 AM

I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in and the thing that happens between us. – Richard Avedon

Fashion is an inherently visual endeavor – the fashion photographer is in many ways a medium of sorts, coaxing out both an aesthetic and a mood from one single moment in time.  Brilliant fashion photography transports us, it sparks our imagination and allows us to take part in a kind of fantasy; it creates a world of presumed perfection.  But as we can see from Avedon’s photographs, the fashion portrait is in many ways also incredibly fragile – the image was there for a moment and now it’s gone, the hair that was then perfect is likely now out of place, the smoldering look is now a blank stare.   It gives us a taste and then leaves us wanting more.

Part of what draws many of us to fashion is our general nature to like beautiful things (however we choose to define “beautiful”); it is through brilliant fashion photography that we can connect to beauty; it is ultimately “the thing that happens between us.”

Interested in learning more about Richard Avedon?  Check out the Richard Avedon Foundation and check out this clip from the Avedon documentary, “Darkness and Light.”




Guest Blogger Series – HOW TO Oscar Beauty

We’re so excited to host another guest blogger on the Battleblog! Long time friend and makeup artist, Jen Morgan from Jen Morgan Makeup, is breaking down Sandra Bullock and Kate Hudson’s makeup looks from last night. Keep your eye out for more from Jen, who’ll be blurring some lines when she does Robin Thicke’s makeup this weekend for his show at MSG.
The Oscars is the classiest of all the award shows so it’s very important to not have the makeup compete with the dress and vice versa; they each play their role in complementing each other to complete the overall look. Navy played a big part in many stars’ ensembles last night. Navy gowns, navy tuxes and of course, a little subtle navy accent in the makeup. Sandra Bullock, Olivia Wilde and Kate Hudson all sported the eye brightening hue.  
Sandra Bullock was stunning in her navy Alexander McQueen gown with a flawless face to match. Her sultry, smokey eye was glamorous yet not overdone. It was modern yet classic, very much like Sandra herself. 
Sandra Bullock makeup
A rich, matte brown eye shadow such as Bobbi Brown’s Mahogany on the lid mixed with a nude beige or a peach like MAC’s Brule or Vapour on the brow bone is what you would use to create the base of this smokey eye. The special touch is the navy liner like Stila’s Waterproof Smudge Stick in MidnightBlue softly smudged on the lower lash line – just enough of pop to coordinate with her gown and add a little brightness to the dark shadow. And of course, don’t forget the lashes! Too Faced’s Better than Sex Mascara gives soft lush volume with minimal effort.
Sandra’s skin was soft and glowing but not shimmery. I really hate when the star’s makeup artists overdo it on the bronzer and shimmer. It makes everyone look sweaty once they hit the stage. A lightweight foundation such as Urban Decay’s Naked Skin gives just enough coverage and a natural glow to the skin. Plus it has added peptides so it plumps the skin making for a flawless finish. Add a soft glow to the cheeks with an illuminating powder blush like Laura Mercier’s Shimmer Bloc in Pink Mosaic. Finish the look off with a long lasting nude lip to keep the eyes as the focal point of the face. Le Metier de Beaute’s new Hydra Creme lipstick in Cashmere has just enough pink so you wont look too washed out.
Kate Hudson also stunned us on the red carpet with her homage to old hollywood glam in her Atelier Versace art deco gown. Her fair complexion worked wonderfully with the white and silver gown and allowed for more color play with her makeup. Kate’s green eyes never go unnoticed and with the soft shimmery cat eye, we were sure to say WOW.
Kate Hudson makeup
A mixture of navy and violet shadows were used to create her sultry look but unlike Sandra’s, more with shimmer than matte and she just seemed to beam all around. Nars Duo Eyeshadow Violetta can be used on the brow bone, inner corner and on the middle of the lid to achieve this look. Add a deep navy shadow like Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Eyeshadow in Midnight to the outer corner and on the lower lash line. Top off with a black liquid liner like Dior’s Liquid Pen Liner and a soft defining mascara like Lancome’s Definicils to give length. 
Kate took on more of the California blonde bronzed look but done very softly using a shimmery bronzer like Urban Decay’s Baked Bronzer in Gilded which added a nice golden glow to the skin without looking to fake or orangey. Without making the look too predictable with the addition of a classic red lip, Kate opted for a more of a soft baby pink like in Sandra’s case, did not take away from the dramatic eyes. Chanel’s Coco Rouge Shine in Boy gives just enough color and a little added shine to the lips without having to add a gloss. 


Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine – Chanel.com, $35

68370_bronzer_gildedUrban Decay’s Baked Bronzer in Gilded – UrbanDecay.com, $26

Style Recap

Oscar 2014 – Red Carpet recap

The clouds parted in time for the stars to come out for the 86th Academy Awards but that didn’t stop them from making it rain with style. Check out our best dressed noms from last night and let us know if you think we missed someone!

Our best dressed  –  Portia de Rossi wowed us in her Naeem Khan stunner with snowflake and heart cut-outs.

portia de rossi

Oscar nominee Amy Adams was a close second for us in this structured navy blue number by  Gucci.


Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett sparkled in her flower covered Giorgio Armani gown.

cate blanchett

The always gorgeous Charlize Theron nailed it (as usual) in Dior.

charlize theron

Camila Alves matched her hubby’s starshine tonight in her pale pink Gabriela Cadena gown.


Kate Hudson brought her A-game again, this time in Atelier Versace. Loved it even more without the cape when she presented!

Kate Hudson

Anna Kendrick was the total package in this J. Mendel looker. Hair and makeup, also flawless!

anna kendrick

Best Supporting Actress winner, Lupita Nyong’o collaborated with Prada to create this dreamlike Nairobian blue gown.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Emma Watson smoldered in this charcoal Vera Wang gown.

emma watson

Giuliana Rancic hosted the E! Red Carpet coverage in this amazing beaded bodice gown by Paolo Sebastian.