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Richard Avedon

Today’s Artist Birthday: Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American fashion and portrait photographer. His celebrity, fashion, and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half of the twentieth century.


Avedon was born in New York City, NY, in 1923. His father, Jacob Israel Avedon, was a Russian-born immigrant who advanced from menial work to starting his own successful retail dress business on Fifth Avenue, called Avedon’s Fifth Avenue. His mother, Anna, whose family owned a dress-manufacturing business, encouraged Richard’s love of fashion and art. Avedon’s interest in photography emerged when, at age 12, he joined a Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) Camera Club. He would use his family’s Kodak Box Brownie not only to feed his curiosity about the world, but also to retreat from his personal life. His father was a critical and remote disciplinarian who insisted that physical strength, education and money prepared one for life. Avedon would later cause a degree of controversy with his “Father Series;” a series of images of his father over a period of time as the elder Avedon was dying.

Jacob Isreal Avedon, photographed by his son Richard Avedon for the "Father Series" produced in 197
Jacob Isreal Avedon, photographed by his son Richard Avedon for the “Father Series” produced in 1974. The series  was controversial as it was a deep, visual examination and revelation of the process of death.
death
Jacob Isreal Avedon, sleeping just months before his death, photographed by his son Richard Avedon for the “Father Series” produced in 1974. The series was controversial as it was a deep, visual examination and revelation of the process of death.

The photographer’s first muse was his younger sister, Louise. During her teen years she struggled through psychiatric treatment. And, eventually, becoming increasingly withdrawn from reality, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was later institutionalized and died at the age of 42. His love for his sister often expressed itself in his desire to capture tragic beauty in his photos.

Richard's adored sister, Louis Avedon, c. 194
Richard’s adored sister, Louis Avedon, c. 1945

Avedon attended DeWitt Clinton High School in Bedford Park, Bronx, where he worked on the school paper, The Magpie, with James Baldwin from 1937 until 1940. After graduating from DeWitt, he enrolled at Columbia University to study philosophy and poetry but dropped out after one year. He then started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines, taking ID shots of the crewmen with the Rolleiflex camera his father had given him as a gift. From 1944 to 1950, Avedon studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch at his Design Laboratory at The New School for Social Research.

avedon marine chest measure
Photograph of a Marine getting his chest measured, by Richard Avedon, when he was the assistant editor for “The Helm,” from 1942 to 1944

In 1944, Avedon began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but was quickly endorsed by Alexey Brodovitch, who was art director for the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. Lillian Bassman also promoted Avedon’s career at Harper’s. In 1945 his photographs began appearing in Junior Bazaar and, a year later, in Harper’s Bazaar.

Cover of "Junior Bazaar, 1947 with model Anne Theophane Graham photographed by Richard Avedon
Cover of “Junior Bazaar, July 1947, with model Anne Theophane Graham photographed by Richard Avedon

In 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life. He soon became the chief photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. From 1950 he also contributed photographs to Life, Look and Graphis and in 1952 became Staff Editor and photographer for Theatre Arts Magazine.

dovima
The legendary model Dovima, photographed by Avedon in 1950

Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking studio fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, he showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action in outdoor settings which was revolutionary at the time. However, towards the end of the 1950s he became dissatisfied with daylight photography and open air locations and so turned to studio photography, using strobe lighting.

swansdown avedon 1955
Models wearing Swansdown Suits, 1955 by Richard Avedon

When Diana Vreeland left Harper’s Bazaar for Vogue in 1962, Avedon joined her as a staff photographer. He proceeded to become the lead photographer at Vogue and photographed most of the covers from 1973 until Anna Wintour became editor in chief in late 1988. Notable among his fashion advertisement series are the recurring assignments for Gianni Versace, beginning with the spring/summer campaign 1980.

avedon carangi 1980
Supermodel before the word “supermodel” even existed, Gia Carangi, photographed for Versace by Richard Avedon in 1980. (In the late 70’s and early 80’s “heroin chic” was quite-so chic in the fashion world and the beautiful Carangi was a dedicated user. She contracted the AIDS virus from sharing needles and tragically died at the young age of 26 in 1986.)

He also photographed the Calvin Klein Jeans campaign featuring a fifteen-year-old Brooke Shields, as well as directing her in the accompanying television commercials. He first worked with Shields in 1974 for a Colgate toothpaste ad. He shot her for Versace, 12 American Vogue covers and Revlon’s Most Unforgettable Women campaign. In the February 9, 1981, issue of Newsweek, Avedon said that “Brooke is a lightning rod. She focuses the inarticulate rage people feel about the decline in contemporary morality and destruction of innocence in the world.”

1974 Colgate toothpaste ad, model Brooke Shields, photograph by Richard Avedon
1974 Colgate toothpaste ad, model Brooke Shields, photograph by Richard Avedon
Brooke Shields for Calvin Klein, photographed by Richard Avedon in 1981
Brooke Shields for Calvin Klein, photographed by Richard Avedon in 1981
Brooke Shields photographed by Richard Avedon, January 26, 1988
Brooke Shields photographed by Richard Avedon, January 26, 1988

On working with Avedon, Shields told Interview magazine in May 1992 “When Dick walks into the room, a lot of people are intimidated. But when he works, he’s so acutely creative, so sensitive. And he doesn’t like it if anyone else is around or speaking. There is a mutual vulnerability, and a moment of fusion when he clicks the shutter. You either get it or you don’t”.

Richard Avedon and Brooke Shields attend the presentation of Yves Saint Laurent's Fall Winter Collection, 1980
Richard Avedon and Brooke Shields attend the presentation of Yves Saint Laurent’s Fall Winter Collection, 1980

In addition to his continuing fashion work, by the 1960s Avedon was making studio portraits of civil rights workers, politicians and cultural dissidents of various stripes in an America fissured by discord and violence. He branched out into photographing patients of mental hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the Vietnam War, and later the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989, by Richard Avedon
The Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989, by Richard Avedon

A personal book called “Nothing Personal,” with a text by his high school classmate James Baldwin appeared in 1964. During this period, Avedon also created two well known sets of portraits of The Beatles. The first, taken in mid to late 1967, became one of the first major rock poster series, and consisted of five psychedelic portraits of the group — four heavily solarized individual color portraits and a black-and-white group portrait taken with a Rolleiflex camera and a normal Planar lens.

The iconic Beatles poster, by Richard Avedon, 1967...long before Photoshop.
The iconic Beatles poster, by Richard Avedon, 1967…long before Photoshop.

The next year he photographed the much more restrained portraits that were included with The Beatles LP in 1968. Among the many other rock bands photographed by Avedon, in 1973 he shot Electric Light Orchestra with all the members exposing their bellybuttons for recording, On the Third Day.

Cover photo for Electric Light Orchestra's "On The Third Day" album, by Richard Avedon, 1973
Cover photo for Electric Light Orchestra’s “On The Third Day” album, by Richard Avedon, 1973

Avedon was always interested in how portraiture captures the personality and soul of its subject. As his reputation as a photographer became widely known, he photographed many noted people in his studio with a large-format 8×10 view camera. His subjects include Buster Keaton, Marian Anderson, Marilyn Monroe, Ezra Pound, Isak Dinesen, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andy Warhol, and the Chicago Seven. His portraits are distinguished by their minimalist style, where the person is looking squarely at the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. By eliminating the use of soft lights and props, Avedon was able to focus on the inner worlds of his subjects evoking emotions and reactions. He would at times evoke reactions from his portrait subjects by guiding them into uncomfortable areas of discussion or asking them psychologically probing questions. Through these means he would produce images revealing aspects of his subject’s character and personality that were not typically captured by others.

Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon, May 1957
Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon, May 1957

In 1982 Avedon produced a playfully inventive series of advertisements for fashion label Christian Dior, based on the idea of film stills. Featuring director Andre Gregory, photographer Vincent Vallarino and model/actress Kelly Le Brock, the color photographs purported to show the wild antics of a fictional “Dior family” living ménage à trois while wearing elegant fashions.

Kelly Lebrock, and two fine gentlemen, for Christian Dior, October 1982, photographed by Richard Avedon
Kelly Lebrock, and two fine gentlemen, for Christian Dior, October 1982, photographed by Richard Avedon

Avedon became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992, where his post-apocalyptic, wild fashion fable “In Memory of the Late Mr. and Mrs. Comfort,” featuring model Nadja Auermann and a skeleton, was published in 1995. Other pictures for the magazine, ranging from the first publication, in 1994, of previously unpublished photos of Marilyn Monroe to a resonant rendering of Christopher Reeve in his wheelchair and nude photographs of Charlize Theron in 2004, were topics of wide discussion. Some of his less controversial New Yorker portraits include those of Saul Bellow, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott, John Kerry, and Stephen Sondheim. In his later years, he continued to contribute to Egoïste, where his photographs appeared from 1984 through 2000. In 1999, Avedon shot the cover photos for Japanese-American singer Hikaru Utada’s Addicted to You.

Nadja Auermann by Richard Avedon,
Nadja Auermann by Richard Avedon, 1995
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Nastassja Kinski by Richard Avedon, 1981

One of the things Avedon is distinguished by as a photographer is his large prints, sometimes measuring over three feet in height. His large-format portrait work of drifters, miners, cowboys and others from the western United States became a best-selling book and traveling exhibit entitled In the American West, and is regarded as an important hallmark in 20th century portrait photography, and by some as Avedon’s magnum opus.

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From “The American West” series by Richard Avedon

Serious heart inflammations hindered Avedon’s health in 1974. The troubling time inspired him to create a compelling collection from a new perspective. In 1979, he was commissioned by Mitchell A. Wilder (1913–1979), the director of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, to complete the “Western Project.” Wilder envisioned the project to portray Avedon’s take on the American West. It became a turning point in Avedon’s career when he focused on everyday working class subjects such as miners soiled in their work clothes, housewives, farmers and drifters on larger-than-life prints, instead of the more traditional options of focusing upon noted public figures or the openness and grandeur of the West. The project lasted five years concluding with an exhibition and a catalogue. It allowed Avedon and his crew to photograph 762 people and expose approximately 17,000 sheets of 8×10 Kodak Tri-X Pan film.

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The collection identified a story within his subjects of their innermost self, a connection Avedon admits would not have happened if his new sense of mortality through severe heart conditions and aging hadn’t occurred. Avedon visited and traveled through state fair rodeos, carnivals, coal mines, oil fields, slaughter houses and prisons to find subjects. In 1994, Avedon revisited his subjects who would later speak about In the American West aftermath and its direct effects. Billy Mudd, a trucker, went long periods of time on his own away from his family. He was a depressed, disconnected and lonely man before Avedon offered him the chance to be photographed. When he saw his portrait for the first time, Mudd saw that Avedon was able to reveal something about Mudd that allowed him to recognize the need for change in his life. The portrait transformed Mudd, and led him to quit his job and return to his family.

Billy Mudd, trucker, from "The American West" series by Richard Avedon
Billy Mudd, trucker, from “The American West” series by Richard Avedon

Helen Whitney’s 1996 American Masters documentary episode, Avedon: Darkness and Light, depicts an aging Avedon identifying In the American West as his best body of work. The project was embedded with Avedon’s goal to discover new dimensions within himself, from a Jewish photographer from the East who celebrated the lives of noted public figures, to an aging man at one of the last chapters of his life, to discovering the inner-worlds, and untold stories of his Western rural subjects.

During the production period Avedon encountered problems with size availability for quality printing paper. While he experimented with platinum printing he eventually settled on Portriga Rapid, a double-weight, fiber-based gelatin silver paper manufactured by Agfa-Gevaert. Each print required meticulous work, with an average of thirty to forty manipulations. Two exhibition sets of In the American West were printed as artist proofs, one set to remain at the Carter after the exhibition there, and the other, property of the artist, to travel to the subsequent six venues. Overall, the printing took nine months, consuming about 68,000 square feet of paper.

In a coal mining valley on the western slope of Colorado, beautiful area of fruit orchards and streams, Avedon photographed at four tunnel mines. Most of the miners came from the small towns of Paonia and Somerset. Their families had lived in the valley for several generations. Brian Justice, a foreman at the Somerset Mine, said, ìMiners pit themselves against the earth, like sailors going out to sea. They arenít loyal to the company, theyíre loyal to the coal.î The Tribble brothers were strong young miners in their twenties. They liked the challenge of mining, the dangers and the money. Only the week before, Dave Tibble told them, he had been buried alive for nineteen hours. He had been working a mile underground when the cave-in occurred. He was at the end of the tunnel; big machines cut the ìfaceî where coal is cut. He clung to the cutting machine, finding pockets of air in and around it and waited until rescuers dug him out.
Miners photographed by Richard Avedon for the “In The American West” series. The Tribble brothers were strong young miners, and only the week before the shoot, Dave Tibble told Avedon that he had been buried alive for nineteen hours. He had been working a mile underground when the cave-in occurred. He was at the end of the tunnel where coal is cut. He clung to a cutting machine, finding pockets of air in and around it and waited until rescuers dug him out.

In September, 2004, Avedon suffered a stroke in San Antonio, Texas, while working on a new project titled Democracy to focus on the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. He never was to recover, and on October 1, he quietly passed away at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. There is no municipal record of a funeral, and the site of his burial, if there was one, has never been made public.

One of the last portraits Avedon would do, was that of a young man who only four years later would become President of The United States. Barack Obama by Richard Avedon, 2004
One of the last portraits Avedon would do, was that of a young man who only four years later would become President of The United States. Barack Obama by Richard Avedon, 2004

Text edited from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Avedon


Richard Avedon

Digital portrait
by Terri Maxfield Lipp, May 2015

(click image for full resolution)


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Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, Wikipedia, Find-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 

Salvador Dalì

Salvador Dalì: creative genius

 

This year, as always, we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dalì (1904-1989). The surrealist painter, sculptor, philosopher, chef, author, filmmaker (to name a few of his strong points), is thought by many to be one of the most creative and brilliant minds of the twentieth century.

Dalí’s mustache was already famous, but was made legendary by the vision and foresight of the great photographer, Philippe Halsman.

To read more and see many of the great artist’s works, please click here to see the full article on the maestro, posted on his birthday in 2016.


Salvador Dalì

Digital collage portrait
by Terri Maxfield Lipp
Created for
TML Arts: The Artist Birthday Series
(click image for full resolution)


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Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
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Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 


Erté

Erté

Erté (23 November 1892 – 21 April 1990) was a Russian-born French artist and designer. He was a diversely talented 20th-century artist and designer who flourished in an array of fields, including fashion, jewelry, graphic arts, costume and set design for film, theatre, and opera, and interior decor.

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Erté was born Roman Petrovich Tyrtov (Роман Петрович Тыртов) in Saint Petersburg, to a distinguished family with roots tracing back to 1548. His father, Pyotr Ivanovich Tyrtov, served as an admiral in the Russian Fleet.

St. Petersburg, as seen in the late 1800's
St. Petersburg, as seen in the late 1800’s

In 1907, he lived one year in Paris. He said about this time “I did not discover Beardsley until when I had already been in Paris for a year”. In 1910–12, Romain moved to Paris to pursue a career as a designer. He made this decision despite strong objections from his father, who wanted Romain to continue the family tradition and become a naval officer. Romain assumed his pseudonym to avoid disgracing the family. He chose the the pseudonym Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials.

erte2

From 1913-1914, he worked for famed fashion designer, a master couturier, Paul Poiret. In 1915, he secured his first substantial contract with Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and thus launched an illustrious career that included designing costumes and stage sets.

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Between 1915–1937, Erté designed over 200 covers for Harper’s Bazaar, and his illustrations would also appear in such publications as Illustrated London News, Cosmopolitan, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Vogue.

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Erté is perhaps most famous for his elegant fashion designs which capture the art deco period in which he worked. One of his earliest successes was designing apparel for the popular French singer and dancer Gaby Deslys who died in 1920, a victim of the Spanish Flu pandemic of that time.

Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys
Gaby Deslys

He was also a designer for Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was later convicted of being a spy and executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.

Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari
Mata Hari

Erté’s delicate figures and sophisticated, glamorous designs are instantly recognizable, and his ideas and art still influence fashion into the 21st century. His costumes, program designs, and sets were featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, many productions of the Folies Bergère, and George White’s Scandals.

Erté in one of his designs
Erté in one of his designs

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On Broadway, the celebrated French chanteuse Irène Bordoni was often seen in Erté’s designs.

Irene Bordoni
Irene Bordoni
Irene Bordoni
Irene Bordoni

In 1925, Louis B. Mayer brought him to Hollywood to design sets and costumes for the silent film Paris. There were many script problems, so Erté was given other assignments to keep him busy. Hence, he designed for such films as Ben-Hur, The Mystic, Time, The Comedian, and Dance Madness. In 1920 he designed the set and costumes for the film The Restless Sex starring Marion Davies and financed by William Randolph Hearst.

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Costume for "The Mystic"
Costume for “The Mystic”
Ballroom design for the film, "The Restless Sex"
Ballroom design for the film, “The Restless Sex”

By far, his best known image is Symphony in Black, depicting a somewhat stylized, tall, slender woman draped in black holding a thin black dog on a leash. The influential image has been reproduced and copied countless times.

at-the-theatre-symphony-in-black
Erté continued working throughout his life, designing revues, ballets, and operas. He had a major rejuvenation and much lauded interest in his career during the 1960s with the Art Deco revival. He branched out into the realm of limited edition prints, bronzes, and wearable art.

Twiggy photographed by Bill King for the cover of Queen magazine, December, 1967. Hair by Michael at Leonard, Make-up by Guerlain, styling by Erté.
Twiggy photographed by Bill King for the cover of Queen magazine, December, 1967. Hair by Michael at Leonard, Make-up by Guerlain, styling by Erté.
Jacket by Erté
Jacket by Erté
Bronze figurine, 1960's
Bronze figurine, 1960’s

A major turning point in his career came in 1965, when he met Eric and Salome Estorick, the founders of Seven Arts Ltd. of New York and London. Seven Arts remained the exclusive agent for Erte’s work until his death.

The Estoricks
Salome and Eric Estorick

In 1998, he created seven limited edition bottle designs for Courvoisier to show the different stages of the cognac-making process, from distillation to maturation. In 2008, the eighth and final of the remaining Erte-designed Courvoisier bottles, containing Grande Champagne cognac dating back to 1892, was released and sold for $10,000 a piece.

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A slightly built man with a shock of white hair, he fell ill with kidney problems during a vacation on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, in March of 1990. He was flown back to Paris and died two weeks later at the Cochin Hospital, at the age of 97.

Image by © Sergio Gaudenti/Kipa/Corbis
Image by © Sergio Gaudenti/Kipa/Corbis

Erte was known for his ability to turn his talent in many directions. He reportedly painted only once in oils, preferring the gouache or tempera medium. He accepted commissions to design jewelry, lamps, furniture and interior decor.

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Today, his work may be found in the collections of several well-known museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); as well, a sizable collection of his work can be found at Museum 1999 in Tokyo.


Edited from:


Erté
From Artist Birthday Series: November 23, 2016

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
(click image for full resolution)

erte-feat2

 


TML Arts aims for accuracy in content and functionality in posts.
Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
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Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 


RuPaul

RuPaul: Queen of Drag, author, actor, supermodel, recording artist, television host

RuPaul Andre Charles (born November 17, 1960), known professionally by his mononym RuPaul, is an American actor, drag queen, model, author, television personality, and recording artist. Since 2009 he has hosted and produced the drag queen reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which he won an Emmy in 2016. RuPaul is noted among drag queens for his indifference toward the gender-specific pronouns used to address him—both “he” and “she” have been deemed acceptable, as stated in his autobiography: “You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.” He has also played men in a number of roles, and makes public appearances both in and out of drag.

Ru and Ru
Ru, and Ru

RuPaul was born in San Diego, California in 1960. His name was given to him by his mother, a Louisiana native. The “Ru” came from roux, which is the term for the base of gumbo and other creole stews and soups. When his parents divorced in 1967, he and his three sisters lived with their mother, Toni Charles.

Baby RuPaul, 30 minutes old
Baby RuPaul, 30 minutes old

 

Rupaul as a child
Rupaul as a child

At the age of 15, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his sister Renetta to study performing arts. In the ensuing years, the young star struggled as a musician and filmmaker during the 1980s. He participated in underground cinema, helping create the low-budget film Star Booty, and an album by the same name.

RuPaul Charles during RuPaul Photographed in Photo Studio - October 27, 1979 at Photographer's studio in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. (Photo by Tom Hill/WireImage)
RuPaul, October 27, 1979 (Photo by Tom Hill/WireImage)

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In Atlanta, RuPaul often performed at the Celebrity Club (managed by Larry Tee) as a bar dancer or with his band, Wee Wee Pole. RuPaul also performed as a backup singer to Glen Meadmore along with drag queen Vaginal Davis. RuPaul’s first prominent United States national exposure came in 1989 with an extra role dancing in the video for Love Shack by The B-52’s. – Watch for the stunning supermodel’s appearance in the video below:

In the early 1990s, RuPaul worked the Georgia club scene and was known by his full birth name. Initially participating in gender bender-style performances, RuPaul performed solo and in collaboration with other bands at several New York City nightclubs, most notably the Pyramid Club. He played opposite New York City drag performer Mona Foote (Nashom Benjamin) in the one act Sci-Fi parody My Pet Homo written and directed by Jon Michael Johnson for Cooper Square Productions.

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He appeared for many years at the annual Wigstock drag festival and appeared in the documentary Wigstock: The Movie.

In the 1990s, RuPaul was known in the UK for his appearances on the Channel 4 series Manhattan Cable, a weekly series produced by World of Wonder and presented by American Laurie Pike about New York’s wild and wacky public-access television system.
In 1993 RuPaul recorded the dance/house album Supermodel of the World. It was released through the rap label Tommy Boy, spawning the dance track hit “Supermodel (You Better Work)“. The music video was an unexpected success on MTV channels, as grunge and gangsta rap were popular at the time. The song peaked at #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. It further charted on the UK Singles Chart, peaking on the top 40 at #39. The song found the most success on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, where it peaked at #2. Radio airplay, heavy rotation of the music video on MTV and television appearances on popular programs like The Arsenio Hall Show popularized the song.

What other people think of me is not my business. What I do is what I do. How people see me doesn’t change what I decide to do. I don’t choose projects so people don’t see me as one thing or another. I choose projects that excite me. I think the problem is that people refuse to understand what drag is outside of their own belief system. ” — RuPaul

RuPaul with Dr. Ruth, 1994
RuPaul with Dr. Ruth, 1994

His next two singles/videos, Back to My Roots and A Shade Shady (Now Prance) both went #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and the song House of Love was released without a video. It failed to place on any U.S. charts, despite rising to #68 on the UK Singles Chart.



RuPaul involved in a slight controversy at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards when he presented an award with actor Milton Berle, who performed a different type of drag early in his career. The two had a bit of a conflict back-stage when the elderly Berle boorishly grabbed RuPaul’s false breasts. RuPaul ad-libbed the line “So you used to wear gowns, but now you’re wearing diapers.” A surprised Berle replied, “Oh, we’re going to ad lib? I’ll check my brain and we’ll start even.” The press portrayed the exchange as being contrary to the “love everyone” message RuPaul presented, and as “a young newcomer treating a legend poorly.” RuPaul would later describe the situation in his autobiography, describing Berle’s behavior backstage as sexually inappropriate and rude. He did regret the situation, saying later: “Of course, what I should have done backstage is told him ‘Get your dirty hands off of me, you motherfucker!’, and then gone out there and been Miss Black America.” That same year would also mark his biggest hit on the UK Singles Chart, a cover of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John, which went to number seven. It was around this time that RuPaul co-hosted the BRIT Awards in London, also with Elton John.

Elton John and RuPaul at the
Elton John and RuPaul at the BRIT awards

RuPaul was signed to a modeling contract for MAC Cosmetics, making him the first drag queen supermodel. Various billboards featured him in full drag, often with the text “I am the MAC girl”. He also released his autobiography, Lettin’ It All Hang Out. He promoted that book in part with a 1995 guest appearance on ABC’s All My Children, in a storyline that put it on the set of Erica Kane’s talk show “The Cutting Edge”.

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The next year he landed a talk show of his own on VH1, called The RuPaul Show, interviewing celebrity guests and musical acts. Diana Ross, Nirvana, Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Mary J. Blige, Bea Arthur, Dionne Warwick, Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton-John, Beenie Man, Pete Burns, Bow Wow Wow, and the Backstreet Boys were notable guests. His co-host was Michelle Visage, with whom he also co-hosted on WKTU radio. On one episode, RuPaul featured guests Chi Chi LaRue and Tom Chase speaking about the gay porn industry.


Later in 1996, he released his second album, Foxy Lady, this time on the L.A.-based Rhino Records label. Despite his growing celebrity, he failed to chart within the Billboard 200. However, the first single, Snapshot, found success in the dance market and went to number four on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. It also enjoyed limited mainstream success, charting at number 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 (which was his second and only other Hot 100 entry to date). The second single A Little Bit of Love only charted at number 28 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The album featured covers of a 1981 Diana Ross song Work That Body, co-written by Paul Jabara, and If You Were a Woman and I Was a Man, originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler. Because of his strong fan base within the gay community, RuPaul has performed at gay pride events and numerous gay clubs. During this time RuPaul helped launch the return of WKTU radio in New York City and would serve as host of the morning show until 1998.

1996
1996

1997 was a busy year for Rupaul as he released his third album, a Christmas album entitled Ho, Ho, Ho, and guest appearing in many films, including both Brady Bunch movies where he played Jan’s female guidance counselor. That year he also teamed up with the great Martha Wash to remake the classic disco anthem, It’s Raining Men. The song was included on the 1998 compilation CD RuPaul’s Go Go Box Classics, which was a collection of some of his favorite dance songs by other artists; this would be his third and final release through Rhino Records and a major record label. It was during this time that he appeared in Webex TV commercials and magazine ads. In 1999, RuPaul was awarded the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards for work in promoting equality in the LGBT community.

In 2002 he recorded with Brigitte Nielsen, credited as Gitta, the Eurodance track You’re No Lady.

In 2004, RuPaul released his fourth album, Red Hot on his own RuCo Inc. Music label. It received some dance radio and club play, but very little press coverage. On his blog, RuPaul discussed how he felt betrayed by the entertainment industry, particularly the gay press. In one incident, it was noted that the magazine Entertainment Weekly refused to review the album, instead asking him to make a comedic contribution to a fashion article. He likened the experience to “a black person being invited to a party, but only if they’ll serve.” Despite his apparent dissatisfaction with the release, Red Hot showed RuPaul returning to the top of the dance charts in the US with the lead off single Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous hitting number two on the dance chart. The second, WorkOut, peaked at number five. The third and final single from the album People Are People a duet with Tom Trujillo peaked at number 10. The album itself only charted on the Top Electronic Albums chart, where it hit number nine. When asked about this in an interview, RuPaul said, “Well, betrayed might be the wrong word. ‘Betrayed’ alludes to an idea that there was some kind of a promise made to me, and there never was. More so, I was disappointed. I don’t feel like it was a betrayal. Nobody promises anything in show business and you understand that from day one. But, I don’t know what happened. It seemed I couldn’t get press on my album unless I was willing to play into the role that the mainstream press has assigned to gay people, which is as servants of straight ideals.”

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2004
2004

On June 13, 2006, RuPaul released ReWorked, his first remix album and fifth album overall. It features reworked versions of songs from his back catalog, as well as new recordings. The only single released from the album is a re-recording of Supermodel (You Better Work), reaching number 21 on the U.S. dance chart. June 20, 2007, saw the release of Starrbooty (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) in the United States. The single Call Me Starrbooty was digitally released in 2007. The album contains new tracks from the singer as well as interludes with dialogue from the movie. The film was released on DVD in October 2007.

In mid-2008, he began producing what many have called the greatest thing ever to be seen on television, RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality television game show which aired on Logo in February 2009. The premise of the program has several drag queens compete to be selected by RuPaul and a panel of judges as “America’s next drag superstar.” The first season’s winner was BeBe Zahara Benet, and first runner-up Nina Flowers was chosen by fans as “Miss Congeniality” through voting via the show’s official website. In publicity preparation for the new show, RuPaul made appearances as a guest on several other shows in 2008 including as a guest judge on episode 6 of season 5 of Project Runway and as a guest “chef” on Paula’s Party.

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In March 2009, RuPaul released the album Champion. The album peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums as well as number 26 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. It features the dance singles Cover Girl and Jealous of My Boogie, both anthems from Drag Race.



Logo’s second annual NewNowNext Awards in 2009 were hosted by RuPaul. There he performed Jealous of My Boogie (Gomi & RasJek Edit). In March 2010, RuPaul released his second remix album, Drag Race. The album features remixes of songs from the 2009 album Champion. In April 2011, coinciding with the finale of season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul released his sixth studio album Glamazon, produced by Revolucian, who previously worked with RuPaul on his album Champion. The album charted on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart at #11 and #8 respectively.

In July 2011, RuPaul released another remix EP entitled SuperGlam DQ, which features remixes of tracks from Glamazon, remixes of the Drag U Theme Song, and a new song, Sexy Drag Queen.

The second season of RuPaul’s Drag U started in June, 2011. Later that year, promotions for season 4 of Drag Race began. RuPaul made appearances on The Rosie Show and The Chew, and also attended a Drag Race NY Premiere party at Patricia Field’s store in New York. Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on Logo on January 30, 2012, with RuPaul returning as the main host and judge. After season 4 ended, TV.com declared that it was the best reality TV show on television.

RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 4 finalists: Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O'Hara, and Chad Michaels
RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 4 finalists: Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O’Hara, and Chad Michaels

In the fall of 2012, the spin-off RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race premiered after a large fan demand. The show featured past contestants of the previous four seasons to compete. Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on January 28, 2013, with a 90-minute special and RuPaul returning as the main host and judge. On April 30, 2013, he released a single Lick It Lollipop featuring longtime friend Lady Bunny, with whom he had previously collaborated with on Champion. On October 25, 2013 he reported via Twitter that the new album would be released in January 2014.

RuPaul at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards - Photo credit: Apega / WENN
RuPaul at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards – Photo credit: Apega / WENN

In fall of 2013, RuPaul joined forces with cosmetic manufacturers Colorevolution to launch his debut make-up line featuring ultra-rich pigment cosmetics and a beauty collection, alongside a unisex perfume entitled Glamazon. Talking to the website “World of Wonder,” RuPaul said: “Glamazon is for women and men of all ages and preferences who share one thing in common: They are not afraid to be fierce. For me, glamour should be accessible to all, and I am committed to helping the world look and smell more beautiful.” The line was exclusively sold on the Colorevolution website in various gift sets.

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RuPaul and Revolucian both confirmed through their Twitter and Instagram accounts that they had been working on an upcoming seventh studio album. Born Naked was released on February 24, 2014 to coincide with the premiere of the 6th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Prior to the premiere, an album of RuPaul cover songs performed by the Season 6 cast was released on January 28, 2014. The covers album is titled RuPaul Presents The CoverGurlz and contains RuPaul songs from 2009–2013.

To further promote the Drag Race season premiere, RuPaul, representing Logo TV (and parent company Viacom) was chosen to ring the NASDAQ closing bell on February 24, 2014. The week of its release, Born Naked reached number one on the iTunes dance album chart. The following week it placed at number 4 on the US Billboard dance chart and number 85 on the Billboard 200 chart. The single Sissy That Walk, aside from being one of the most listenable tunes in the herstory of humankind, was nominated for Best Song Of The Year by the  Independent Music Awards.

On April 9, 2014 RuPaul and Michelle Visage released the first episode of their podcast, RuPaul: What’s the Tee? with Michelle Visage. In August, he joined the reality competition show Skin Wars acting as a judge.
On March 2, 2015, RuPaul released his eighth studio album entitled Realness. The release coincided with the premiere of the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

In April, he launched and began hosting a new show, Good Work, a plastic surgery-themed talk show for E!. In October he released his second Christmas album (and ninth studio album) Slay Belles. The album contains 10 original Christmas-themed songs and features collaborations with Michelle Visage, Siedah Garrett, Todrick Hall and Big Freedia. The album charted at number 21 on the US Billboard Dance chart.

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In January 2016, it was announced RuPaul would present a new game show for Logo TV called Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul which premiered on April 11, 2016 after RuPaul’s Drag Race. In February 2016, RuPaul announced his tenth album, Butch Queen. It was released on March 4, 2016, just prior to the premiere of the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. A song from the album, U Wear It Well was featured in the teaser campaigns for the season and was later officially released as the first single on iTunes on February 29, 2016. The album charted at number 3 on the US Billboard Dance chart, marking his highest position on this chart to date.

On July 14, 2016 it was announced that RuPaul was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. He would go on to win the award at the September 11 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Ceremony.

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Outside the glamour and glitter of his public life, RuPaul lives a delightfully quiet, and quite normal, personal life. He has been with his Australian partner, Georges, since the mid 1990s, after meeting the 6’7″ Aussie while out on a dance floor. Georges runs a 50-acre (200,000 m2) ranch in Wyoming.

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RuPaul’s message, since the beginning, has always been based in love, for oneself and for others. I think his personality and his message are both beautifully demonstrated in this wonderfully candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter, from August of 2016. Among his uplifting stories and spontaneous witticisms, he shares a very personal and emotional moment, after being asked about his favorite memories from his time with Drag Race.  

… Everybody say “Love!

 


Edited from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuPaul


RuPaul


November 17, 2016
Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
(click image for full resolution)

rupaul-feat1


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Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz: photographer

Annie Leibovitz (born October 2, 1949) is an American portrait photographer. She photographed John Lennon on the day he was assassinated, and her work was used on two record albums by Joan Armatrading. She is the only woman to have held an exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Leibovitz is much influenced by Richard Avedon, and his ‘personal reportage’, developing close rapport with her subjects.

Portrait of Annie Leibovitz by John Keatley
Portrait of Annie Leibovitz by John Keatley

Anna-Lou Leibovitz was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on October 2, 1949,  and is the third of six children of Marilyn Edith (née Heit) and Samuel Leibovitz. Her mother was a modern dance instructor of Estonian Jewish heritage, and her father was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently with her father’s duty assignments, and she took her first pictures when he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War.

"American Soldiers and the Queen of the Negritos," 1968
“American Soldiers and the Queen of the Negritos,” 1968

She attended Northwood High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and became interested in various artistic endeavors and began to write and play music. She later became a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. For several years, she continued to develop her photography skills while holding various jobs, including a stint on a kibbutz in Amir, Israel, for several months in 1969.

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When Leibovitz returned to the United States in 1970, she started her career as staff photographer, working for Rolling Stone magazine. In 1973, publisher Jann Wenner named her chief photographer of Rolling Stone, a job she would hold for 10 years. Leibovitz worked for the magazine until 1983, and her intimate photographs of celebrities helped define the Rolling Stone look. She sought intimate moments with her subjects, who “open their hearts and souls and lives to you.”

David Cassidy
David Cassidy

 

Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend

 

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg

 

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Susan Sontag

 

Ellen Degeneres

Photographers such as Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson influenced her during her time at the San Francisco Art Institute. “Their style of personal reportage‍—‌taken in a graphic way‍—‌was what we were taught to emulate.” Leibovitz has also cited Richard Avedon‘s portraits as an important and powerful example in her life.

Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris

 

Prince
Prince

 

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep

Leibovitz photographed the Rolling Stones in San Francisco in 1971 and 1972, and served as the concert-tour photographer for the Rolling Stones’ Tour of the Americas ’75. Her favorite photo from the tour was a photo of Mick Jagger in an elevator.

Mick Jagger in an elevator.
Mick Jagger in an elevator.

In 1978 Leibovitz became the first woman to photograph Joan Armatrading for an album. She did the photography for Armatrading’s fifth studio album To the Limit, spending four days at her house capturing the images. Leibovitz also did the photography for Armatrading’s live album, Steppin’ Out.

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On December 8, 1980, Leibovitz had a photo shoot with John Lennon for Rolling Stone magazine, and she promised him he would make the cover. She had initially tried to get a picture with just Lennon alone, as Rolling Stone wanted, but Lennon insisted that both he and Yoko Ono be on the cover. Leibovitz then tried to re-create something like the kissing scene from the couple’s Double Fantasy 1980 album cover, a picture Leibovitz loved, and she had John remove his clothes and curl up next to Yoko on the floor. Leibovitz recalls, “What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’‍—‌not really preconceiving the picture at all. Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that he was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, ‘You’ve captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it’ll be on the cover.’ I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.” Leibovitz was the last person to professionally photograph Lennon‍—‌he was shot and killed five hours later.

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1991, Leibovitz emulated Margaret Bourke-White’s feat by mounting one of the eagle gargoyles on the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan, where she photographed the dancer David Parsons cavorting on another eagle gargoyle. Noted Life photographer and picture editor John Loengard made a gripping photo of Leibovitz at the climax of her danger.

Annie Leibovitz by John Loengard
Annie Leibovitz by John Loengard

She was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2009. In October 2011, she had an exhibit in Moscow, and in an interview with Rossiya 24, she explained her photography style. In 2014, the New-York Historical Society mounted an exhibit of Leibovitz’s work, based on her 2011 book, Pilgrimages.

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To keep up with the latest Annie Leibovitz news, you can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/annieleibovitz/

annie-leibovitz-new-york-city-2012-annie-leibovitz


Edited from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Leibovitz

 

See also:

Beautiful collections of some of Annie Leibovitz’s work:


TML Arts aims for accuracy in content and functionality in posts.
Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
or additional relative information.

See something? Say something.



Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 

Annie Leibovitz: digital collage portrait by TMLipp

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