“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
“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’s implicated in what’s happening, and he has a certain real power over the result.”
“A portrait photographer depends upon another person to complete his picture. The subject imagined, which in a sense is me, must be discovered in someone else willing to take part in a fiction he cannot possibly know about.”
“Photography has always reminded me of the second child.. trying to prove itself. The fact that it wasn’t really considered an art.. that it was considered a craft.. has trapped almost every serious photographer.”
Avedon’s approach and style have always made sense to me…he didn’t seem to be overly fussy about lighting or equipment and he never seemed to take himself too, too seriously. But he knew when things were working and he knew when they weren’t. Go on, Google him in an image search and let your eyes feast on the screens full of glorious thumbnails.