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In the American West: 20th Anniversary Edition Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Reissue edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810959283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810959286
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 11.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Here, Avedon abandons fashion photography in favor of this collection of "strong, occasionally shocking portraits...of miners, drifters, wildcatters, slaughterhouse workers, and adolescents" (LJ 1/86).
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Richard Avedon was one of the most influential photographers of the second half of the 20th century, and his portrait work comprises an authoritative record of our era. As a staff photographer for Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, Avedon redefined fashion photography. In 1992 he was named the first staff photographer in the history of The New Yorker.

Laura Wilson is a photographer whose previous books are Hutterites of Montana, Watt Matthews of Lambshead, and Avedon at Work. She lives in Dallas.

John Rohrbach is senior photography curator at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth.

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Customer Reviews

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I have never seen anythink like what I saw in this book.
David Kaplan
The book itself is beautifully produced: large size, with a cloth cover protected by a thick, transparant plastic dustwrapper.
MartinP
In the American West by Richard Avedon is a splendid book with amazing, impressive portraits of 'ordinary people'.
J. A. W. Tito

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By MartinP on June 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In 1978 glamour photographer Richard Avedon shot some portraits in the MidWest. The Amon Carter Museum in Forth Worth, Texas, asked him to follow up on those, and Avedon set out for the American West to portray what amounts to the reverse side of the American dream. The project ran until 1984. By then, Avedon had photographed 752 people in 17 states; a selection of 123 portraits constituted the eventual exhibition and the collection in this book. The illusion of equality and great opportunities for all, and the Hollywood-slash-John wayne dream of the good old pioneering West - a dream shared by a surprising lot of westerners themselves - are effectively shattered by these haunting portraits of barmaids, drifters, ranch-hands, prisoners, mental patients, Hutterites, coal miners, slaughter house workers, 12 year old girls looking twice their age, (sub) teenage boys handling guns and snakes, oil-rig workers, and many others alongside them. There is hardly a face here that is not marked by toil and hardship, the stark black-and-white detailing every crevice, freckle, rimple, mole and scar. As one commentator noted, the West is often represented by its landscape; here the faces are the landscape of the West, and, one might well suspect, its true landscape. Of course, similar portraits of ordinary people living under harsh conditions could be taken in many places in the world; the portraits in this volume take a significant part of their impact from the fact that they come from that "greatest nation on earth", a land associated with glamour, enterprise, success and outward appearances, that we are used to seeing represented rather differently than we find it here.

Here, the great heroic cowboy dream is reduced to a shiny, oversized rodeo buckle worn by a skinny boy.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My son gave me this book years ago as a birthday gift. It's not one that I look at every day. In truth , sometimes years go by before I pick it up again. Always, the images beg to define their stories. I often wonder as the years pass, what has happened to those portrayed. Only once, as I recall, did Avedon return to shoot the subject twice. That image is of a young cowboy. Avedon initially captures the hope and wonder of what his future holds. The second image taken but a few years later already shows much of that hope diminished with the realization of this is all there is. Perhaps I read too much into it, but I think that's the power of the images. We read individually into them and perhaps with more than a little bias come to our own conclusions. Anytime I need a shot of creativity to look at our world and the people and stories within so that I too can try to capture on film, or now digitally, I need look no further than Avedon's book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Hearse Queen on May 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I was a teen in the early eighties, I went to see the exhibit of these photos in SF, CA with my mother. From what I understand, Richard Avedon traveled the American West, photographing people that he came across in his everyday travels. They weren't beautiful supermodels, they weren't made up actors, they were real live people. I remember like it was yesterday, the huge black and white photos included the tired and haggard teen girl on the cover, a snake handler holding a disemboweled rattlesnake, a grizzled and mean looking prisoner with jail tattoos, insane asylum patients with wild eyed stares, scruffy drifters and many more. After the show, I talked my mom into buying the book for me, and took it home, where it's been a prized posession ever since. Every time anyone comes over to my home and checks it out, it always opens up a discussion. When it went out of print, I know that I was disappointed as folks always wanted a copy after seeing my own, and I think it's great that it's been re-issued. If you are a fan of photography that captures the stark realism of the human spirit, don't miss out on this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Rosen on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you were to own just one Richard Avedon book then this is the one to have. It is a true artist's book that consists of photos taken as a unified body of work. There have been many compilation books published since his death but this is the collection he will be most remembered for. This edition is easily the best as the reproductions and printing were done with the most current technology available. For any student or collector of photography this is an absolute must-have.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Kaplan on November 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have never seen anythink like what I saw in this book. The photos are haunting and show how hard some peoples lifes are. I just finished ordering 3 more of his books, wish I could afford his "Autobiography" book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tijmen on October 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
What an amazing book.
Too bad I'm a college bum and this is out of my budget. One advantage of being in college is that it's in my college library. I 'discovered' this book of his 3 days ago and every day I've gone back and flipped through it. Very inspirational. Would love to own this some day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Voelker on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In the day of everyone carrying a camera via snap shot or cell phone, this is the real definition of photography of the 20th century. After his hospitalization Avedon took off to the America West to photograph the real west not the John Wayne type depicted by film and TV. This insightful photographer came to the West with an 8x10 Deardorff and photographed those that would never be picked to reflect the American west. Avedon chose workers in the fashion of Irving Penn but used available north light and the only equipment was a reflector. Looking at the huge prints would change your perception of print making. The Mormon Father and Son and how he wrote on the print with a grease pencil to instruct the printer how to burn and dodge a print that already looked amazing. How precise Avedon was with his exposure development of film and finally the prints being so carefully made. In the same way that Penn,( who made his own silver and platinum prints) are awe inspiring. Those who were cast away by society were celebrated by Mr. Avedon in a way that tells a visual story in this master piece of a book. The DVD where he visits some of the subjects of this book is just a treat to watch as well. I think it was Diana Vreeland who said " I can't picture the world without Richard Avedon". I don't think it could be said any more eloquently. My signed Avedon books are very special to me. Having met Richard was a moment I will always treasure.

Christopher Voelker
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