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Avedon: Something Personal


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About the Author

Norma Stevens was an advertising copywriter when she became Richard Avedon's business partner in 1976, which she remained until his death in 2004. In his will, Avedon named her director of the newly founded Richard Avedon Foundation, which she ran for five years.
Steven M. L. Aronson, who first met Richard Avedon in 1970, is the author of Hype and the co-author of Savage Grace. He contributed the text for the Taschen edition of the oeuvre of the iconic photographer Peter Beard. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Interview, New York, Esquire, Architectural Digest, and The Nation.


"If you're into pop culture, you'll inhale Avedon: Something Personal."--Kitty Kelley

"It's a good time, this book. There's a feeling of arriving at a party where everyone is at least two drinks ahead of you, and the hostess has you by the arm and is barreling you into the thick of things, talking a mile a minute, catching you up on everyone's hidden agendas. . . . Everyone saw one side of [Richard Avedon]--but together the testimonials of his assistants, models and lovers add up to a mosaic of the man. The snapshots are affectionate and admiring, and the contradictions in them can give you whiplash."--The New York Times "Intimate and dishy in its conversational tone, the book makes you feel as though you are nose to nose trading stories with a vivacious confidant. . . . This roomy account fills in the renowned white space surrounding Avedon, a man who curated his reputation as carefully as he did his output, remaining relentlessly private. . . . Notably, this book gives luminaries--including Renata Adler, Mike Nichols, Naomi Campbell, Veruschka, and Twyla Tharp--the chance to speak illuminatingly on the man who captured them on film. It's a saucy meandering from anecdote to anecdote. . . . Stevens and [Steven M. L.] Aronson have telescoped Avedon's star into much clearer view."--Chicago Tribune "Avedon: Something Personal gives you the gossip. Snap!"--New York "Although the bitchier and more salacious anecdotes . . . will likely earn the book a good deal of attention, the cast of characters is most interesting when discussing Avedon's central struggle: Should he direct his talents to selling the lie or revealing the truth? . . . The composite portrait that emerges . . . depicts a frantic, insecure artist consumed by ambition. . . Testimonies--especially those by Avedon's former studio assistants and managers--also reveal a man capable of great generosity and unadulterated joy."--The Wall Street Journal "[Offers] loads of personal information here to horrify an estate that would prefer to paint an unblemished face on the reputation of the deceased . . . Balancing the disclosure of these secrets, however, the authors dazzle us with stories from models, writers, editors, actors, and friends that attest to [Avedon's] electrifying and seductive intelligence."--Collector Daily (Photobooks)

"Exhilarating . . . Like Tina Brown's diaries . . . A whirlwind read, dropping names, exhibits, assignments, one-liners and wisecracks so fast I turned the 697 pages slightly breathless, taking top-speed notes like a snapping paparazza. . . . [Stevens's] portrait is personal and affectionate, [and] intentionally subjective. She reveals intimate details of his life and death without judgment and often with humor. . . . This book is a fine memorial."--Elaine Showalter, The Times Literary Supplement "Capacious and valuable . . . The Richard Avedon Foundation . . . prefers that details about Avedon's private life stay private, even after death. But Avedon lived a rich, full life, and a rich, full life has sex, love, food, clarity, contradiction."--HuffPost "Stevens . . . doesn't shy away from [Avedon's] darker recesses [but] what you do come away with is a huge appreciation for his body of work and for his absolute lust for life."--New Statesman

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