Someone Else

Peter Campbell

  • In the American West by Richard Avedon
    Thames and Hudson, 172 pp, £40.00, October 1985, ISBN 0 500 54110 8
  • Photoportraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson
    Thames and Hudson, 283 pp, £35.00, October 1985, ISBN 0 500 54109 4

The first picture in Richard Avedon’s folio is captioned ‘Alan Silvey, drifter, Route 93, Chloride, Nevada’. Such photographs were taken in the Dustbowl fifty years ago. But this is art, not documentation. We have learned a lot about photography since the Thirties, and now no one believes that truth is simple – ‘all photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth’ is Avedon’s way of putting it. On the other hand, no one really doubts that photography is art. Meanwhile, in these pictures of the anonymous and deprived, ethnography and fashion join hands.

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