As I said in last night's post, the wife and I went to the Columbus Museum of Art to see the Kehinde Wiley exhibit, and happened upon the Richard Avedon photographic exhibit. We were lucky, because it was it's last day. Stark photos of drifters, oil workers, miners, slaughterhouse workers, physical therapists, truck drivers, bee keepers, and ranch hands stared out from the walls and into our souls, making each beautiful portrait slightly disturbing. Each photo was taken with black and white film, and every single detail, wrinkle, or scar was evident on each person's face. Whether beaten down by the sun, age, or life, all that each subject had experienced seemed etched on their faces by an old blunt razor. There were photos of beautifully hardened women with soft endearing eyes, (Charlene Van Tightem, Physical Therapist) Grizzled drifters with an air of distinction despite their dirty clothing, (Clarence Lippard, Drifter) handsome and unstable looking characters with roguish faces, (Roberto Lopez, Oil Field Worker) and a ghostly bee keeper covered in bees which contrast his hairless pasty white skin (The Beekeeper, 1985).
The exhibit was scary, ugly, beautiful, and sensual, and appealed to many aspects of the psyche.
Check out Richard Avedon's photo anthology In The American West online, or get it from your local library. It's not to be missed.