The Human Face And Its Landscape


The landscape of a face, with all its crevices, peaks, valleys, and expressions, reflects the journey of the soul.

To me, there is nothing more fascinating and attractive than the human face. And when I say, attractive, I don’t mean "attractive" as in what the media tells us is attractive. I’m referring to individual attractiveness.

I'm not really drawn to a perfectly structured or typically beautiful/handsome face. I’ve always been more attracted to what many people may see as an off-kilter face.

Whether it is a man or woman, I like a face with a lot of character. I’m attracted to things, like a crooked nose, a scar beneath an eye or above a lip, and yes, I even like the lines and wrinkles that aging brings.

I guess you could say that I’m attracted to faces that have a unique terrain and landscape; a landscape that looks as though it's been traveled and has a history.

I also think because of my background in acting, I notice the face and how it conveys emotion. A face to an actor is like a moving canvas on which he/she expresses the feelings of the character.

And Richard Avedon (1923-2004), American photographer, had a gift for capturing the human face and its landscape, both physically and emotionally.

Best known for his work in the fashion industry, Avedon was also highly recognized for his portraits because he was what you would almost call a face reader. He was famous for the intimate celebrity portrait, capturing something from a sitting that hadn’t been seen before from the subject. He knew how to capture the humanness in a celebrity subject. And his portraits never looked posed, but rather a natural moment caught with the camera.

Some of Avedons' portraits are quiet, while others are active. Yet, to me, even the quiet ones are active because you can see something going on within the quietness.

Please enjoy these Richard Avedon portraits of the human face and its landscape...

Actress: Judi Dench
Writer: Truman Capote
Singer: Tina Turner
Singer/Actress: Judy Garland
Actress: Audrey Hepburn
Italian Actress: Anna Magnani
Composer/Songwriter: Cole Porter
Actress: Marilyn Monroe
Fashion Designer: Coco Chanel
Artist: Pablo Picasso
Actress: Gloria Swanson

Happy Monday, y'all!
X

52 comments

  1. Picasso's face is a perfect study for this topic, Ron, so has the Dalai Lama. I could 'read' them for ages. Once upon a time I saw a beautiful picture of an elderly lady with an extremely lined face, I mean heavily, from chin to brow, and the caption underneath was 'growing old gracefully'. I've never forgotten it. I agree with you about Avedon. His work is amazing.
    Have a great week x

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  2. That is an interesting collection of photos. The one of Marilyn Monroe is so telling. Doesn't she just look like a lost soul?

    Thanks for sharing this artist with us!

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  3. Rob LenihanJune 16, 2014

    My God, Ron, these photos are incredible. Even those these are images of famous people, I feel like I'm seeing them for the very first time.


    The faces are filled with emotion and each one of them seems to have a fascinating story to tell. I can see why you are so intrigued by the human face.


    Thanks for sharing these with us, buddy. Take care and have a picture perfect week!

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  4. " a scar beneath an eye or above a lip"


    Ron, I feel the same way. I dated a guy once who had a small scar above his lip and found it so sexy. I like someone who has character to their face as well, or as you said, off-kilter.


    Wonderful selection of Avedon portraits! The one of Marilyn Monroe is so revealing as to what was going on inside her, a lost little girl. And the one of Gloria Swanson is 'glorious' because you can see just how comfortable she is in her skin. I love her hair in that photograph!


    Ron, you always come up with interesting topics like this one.


    Have a wonderful week x

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  5. "Picasso's face is a perfect study for this topic, Ron, so has the Dalai Lama. I could 'read' them for ages.'

    I agree, Valerie! And I feel the same way about Chanel, Swanson, and Capote.

    " I saw a beautiful picture of an elderly lady with an extremely lined face, I mean heavily, from chin to brow, and the caption underneath was 'growing old gracefully'. I've never forgotten it."

    Brilliant! I remember when I was a kid and would sit and stare at an elderly person (like one of my grandmothers or grandfathers) and was utterly fascinated with their face - I used to want to touch it

    Much thanks for stopping by, dear lady. Have a lovely week!

    X to you and Joe!

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  6. "The one of Marilyn Monroe is so telling. Doesn't she just look like a lost soul?"


    Yes, Bijoux, I couldn't agree with you more - she looks like a lost soul. I saw on a documentary about Avedon, which said that he took that photo right after he had snapped a bunch of other ones; catching Marilyn totally off-guard. It's said to be one of the most 'inner revealing' photographs ever taken of Monroe.


    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a super week!!!


    X

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  7. " Even those these are images of famous people, I feel like I'm seeing them for the very first time."

    Rob, you took the words right out of my mouth because I thought the same thing when I first saw these images. Aren't these images so beautifully revealing?

    "each one of them seems to have a fascinating story to tell.

    It's ironic you mentioned that because that's what it is about his photography that I really like....each image tells a story. And even his fashion photography was more about telling a story than it was about the fashion. His fashion photographs look like clips from a movie.


    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have a picture perfect week!


    X

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  8. Hola Denise!

    "a small scar above his lip and found it so sexy.'

    Me too....VERY sexy! I like a face with imperfections because imperfection looks PERFECT - HA!

    "The one of Marilyn Monroe is so revealing as to what was going on inside her, a lost little girl."



    Yes, someone else said the same thing about that photo and I have to agree....she looks lost in that photo, which is really what makes the photograph beautiful, because she looks so vulnerable. Avedon took a lot of his photographs that way. He liked to capture the contradiction between the 'celebrity persona' and their 'human persona.'


    I love the one Gloria Swanson too! She looks so beautiful to me because she looks so natural. The photograph has such a wonderful energy about it!


    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a WONDERFUL week too!


    X

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  9. How fascinating, Ron! I think it's the artist in you that's attracted to interesting faces. While we all can appreciate the truly beautiful, not everyone takes time to delight in the interesting. And yes, there IS a difference!

    For some reason, I'm not fond of his picture of Audrey Hepburn. She had a striking face, one that was showed off perfectly when her hair was short or upswept. The style depicted here just doesn't do her justice.

    Love the shot of Judy Garland, though. Shows a glimpse of the tortured soul she was said to be.

    Thank you, dear, for compiling these for us today -- happy week to you!

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  10. These are great! There are often traits which give us a glimpse into the soul. Re; I think Marilyn Monroe's pouty lips had less to do with sex appeal and more to do with dissatisfaction. I adore the angle of the Coco Chanel photo. Cole Porter appears if he is looking right into your soul to write your life song.

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  11. "The landscape of a face, with all its crevices, peaks, valleys, and expressions, reflects the journey of the soul."

    Ron, I love how you expressed that because I had never thought of it that way, but our faces are like a landscape, mapping our own journey. So each face will have a unique landscape.



    Such a diverse selection of photographs, each one having a completely different feeling and landscape. I love the ones of Garland and Monroe because they both contain a sad but beautiful vulnerability. And the one of the Italian actress has a wonderful freedom to it.


    Way cool post! In knowing you, I've gotten very interested in photography. Thanks, dude!

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  12. Helloooo there Debbie!

    Yes, I think you're right. I think creative/artist people in general are attracted to faces because when you think about it, a face is like a piece of art - a human landscape.

    " I'm not fond of his picture of Audrey Hepburn. She had a striking face, one that was showed off perfectly when her hair was short or upswept. The style depicted here just doesn't do her justice."

    Ironic you mentioned that photograph because when I first saw it, I kind of had the same reaction as you because it's a very different image/look of Hepburn (both physically and emotionally). Yet after looking at it longer, I began to see the beauty in it. There is something haunting beautiful to me about that image.

    "Love the shot of Judy Garland, though. Shows a glimpse of the tortured soul she was said to be."



    Yes. And I can see it in the Monroe photo as well.


    MUCH thanks for stopping by, dear lady. Have a SUPER week!


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  13. I love these portraits and I so agree, that to capture an 'unposed' expression is by far the best. Whenever I take a portrait I will sit with my finger poised and wait for the face to relax and stop posing, then I will take the shot. Sometimes I have to tell the subject to stop posing ;)

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  14. Hiya Matt!

    I started selecting photographs for this post last month because I knew I wanted to post about Avedon's photographs and this topic. And it took be forever to go through all the ones I had downloaded because they were ALL so different and unique in they're own way.

    " I love the ones of Garland and Monroe because they both contain a sad but beautiful vulnerability."



    Perfect words....a beautiful vulnerability. Yup...I see the same thing in those photos.


    To be honest, I've never seen that Italian actress in a film before. In fact, I didn't even know who she was. But when I spotted that photograph, I thought, OMG...how faaaaabulous is she? You're right, there is a wonderful freedom to it. And 'earthy' as well!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, buddy. Have a most excellent week!


    X

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  15. Hey there Babs!


    Aren't photos that capture an 'unposed' expression the best? There is something so special about capturing moments when a subject is just 'being' and not 'posing.'


    I had no idea you also took portrait photos, Babs? I would love to see them sometime because I love your photography!


    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a beautiful week!


    X to you and Mo!

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  16. Mark PetruskaJune 16, 2014

    Audrey Hepburn looks so sad there. I hope she was just acting. The Dalai Lama, on the other hand? Love that shot of him. Looks like he's all about peace, love, and having a kick-ass time!


    And I agree with you. Imperfections are sexy. When people try to defy natural aging (here's looking at you, Joan Rivers), it comes across as looking ridiculous. In my opinion, anyway.

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  17. Hey there Mark!

    That photo of Audrey Hepburn was taken for Harper's Bazaar Magazine, Paris, in 1959 by Avedon. Yes, she does look sad there doesn't she? But there something hauntingly beautiful to me about her expression and how the rain drops reflect tears. I love the whole mood of that portrait.

    " Love that shot of him. Looks like he's all about peace, love, and having a kick-ass time!"

    HA! I agree and I LOVE that shot too!!!!

    "When people try to defy natural aging (here's looking at you, Joan Rivers), it comes across as looking ridiculous. In my opinion, anyway."

    Thank you. And it's funny you mentioned JR's because I just saw her in an interview on You Tube. OMG...she doesn't even look like herself anymore.

    Much thanks for stopping by, buddy. Have a fantabulous week!

    X to you and Tara!

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  18. I absolutely love the Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe ones. Not only are they two of the most amazing women in history but both those pictures capture so much raw emotion and natural beauty. He really is a "face reader". Amazing stuff! Thanks for sharing this and have a fantastic Monday my friend!

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  19. Ron, another thought provoking post. "I’m attracted to faces that have a unique terrain and landscape; a landscape that looks as though it's been traveled and has a history." I love the way you said that!


    Each one of these Avedon photos you selected, really shows his talent for portraits and his ability for capturing something very special. I look at these and think, "raw beauty." They' re not what you could call glamorous images, but in a way they are glamorous. These images contain so many different feelings and emotions.


    I feel the same as one of your other readers, Shae. I too love the Hepburn and Monroe ones, and for the same reason. Also, the Gloria Swanson shot is amazing because it's so animated, and genuinely so. I love the energy in that photo.


    Thank you for introducing me to Richard Avedon. What a gifted photographer!

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  20. "Not only are they two of the most amazing women in history but both those pictures capture so much raw emotion and natural beauty."

    I totally agree with you, Shae! And that's what I find so beautiful about those two photos, they're open and raw. You see the beauty AND the pain, which is 'human' in all of us.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a FANTASTIC Monday and week!

    X

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  21. Hey ho Robert!

    You said exactly what it is that I see and feel when I look at these photos...

    "I look at these and think, "raw beauty." They' re not what you could call glamorous images, but in a way they are glamorous. These images contain so many different feelings and emotions."

    Yes! I see that too! Soooooo many different feelings and emotions come through in these images.

    " Also, the Gloria Swanson shot is amazing because it's so animated, and genuinely so. I love the energy in that photo."



    Isn't that shot STELLAR? You're right....it's so animated. Her great energy just bursts through the photo!


    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, buddy. Glad you enjoyed some of Avedons' portraits. He was one of a kind.


    Have a super week!


    X

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  22. i too enjoy this post, ron. you string the words together so beautifully. i never thought about the landscape of a human face. there are some people who may not be physically attractive to some, but there is something about their face that reveals more than what's on the outside. i think morgan freeman is so sexy, i love his face. even though it's covered with moles and his teeth are not straight, his face and smile are beautiful. very attractive to me. loved this post!

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  23. petra michelleJune 17, 2014

    Absolutely gorgeous, Ron! was brilliant!

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  24. petra michelleJune 17, 2014

    oops, I wasn't finished yet... :((

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  25. petra michelleJune 17, 2014

    He seemed to capture the essence of each; the energy of Tina Turner, the quiet of Judi Dench, the zaniness of Gloria Swanson, the self-assurance of Cole Porter, the childlike innocence of Marilyn, the always professional but troubled Judy Garland, the sweetness of Audry Hepburn,
    the regal Cocoa Chanel, the caricature of Truman Capote, and on and on...
    Perhaps that was the beauty of his photographs, allowing us to view his subjects not entirely from our preconceived perceptions. Lovely, Ron!

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  26. Hey there Val!

    "there are some people who may not be physically attractive to some, but there is something about their face that reveals more than what's on the outside."

    Yes, you are ABSOLUTELY right and thank you for sharing that because it ties in so perfectly with this post. The face (like the eyes) reflect more than what's on the outside, much more. I think they reflect the 'soul.'

    "i think morgan freeman is so sexy, i love his face. even though it's covered with moles and his teeth are not straight, his face and smile are beautiful. very attractive to me."

    Yes, that's a perfect example.I agree, there IS something sexy about Morgan Freeman. And I LOVE his voice. OMG...it's hypnotic.

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing on this post topic, girl. Have a SUPER week!

    X

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  27. *clapping*

    Yes, you nailed it, Petra!

    "Perhaps that was the beauty of his photographs, allowing us to view his subjects not entirely from our preconceived perceptions."

    You said almost exactly what Avedon said in one of the documentaries I watched about his photography. He said that what he attempted to do was capture the contradictions (or as you said, "our preconceived perceptions) about each celebrity, and show the light and dark, which is something we ALL contain.

    What I loved about his photography was that it just wasn't about the 'photography', it was also about exposing 'truth.'

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. And thank you for sharing your intuitive perception :)

    Have a super week!

    X

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  28. So sorry about that, Petra :( Sometimes Disqus is quick to publish a comment before you hit the publish button. However, I did get your full comment above this one. Thank you for recommenting X

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  29. He absolutely caught the essence of each and every one! Great post Ron!

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  30. Helloooooo there Jeanne!


    Yes, he sure did, didn't he? And these photos are only a few. He photographed so many celebrities, politicians, etc. throughout his career; each one, amazing!


    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Happy Tuesday!


    X to you and the girlz!


    (((((((( Lady Bug )))))))

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  31. Ron, she has such an 'earthy' quality about her. She's very beautiful!

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  32. Matt, I so agree! An EARTHY quality. Bellissima!

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  33. Holy cow... these are incredible. I almost have no words... the faces he captured... the moment in time... true art. My favorite is the dalai lama. I am so glad you shared these - I've not seen ANY before!

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  34. " the faces he captured... the moment in time... true art."

    You said, Katherine, true art! And don't you just love the one of The Dalai Lama? There is such a deep wisdom about his face, and yet at the same time, a sweet, child-like quality!

    Much thanks for stopping by, girl. Hope your week has been faaaaaabulous so far!

    X

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  35. Matt and Ron, I agree with you. She does have a beautiful earthy quality. She has a similar sultriness of Sophia Loren!

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  36. Yes, Denise, you are spot on about that....she does have a similar Sophia Loren (Italian) sultriness!

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  37. Oh, me, too - I much prefer an interesting face. Real people, not the plastic, airbrushed, digitally altered images we see so often. These are all gorgeous in their humanity.

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  38. Ron, to me Sophia Loren is still beautiful. She's ageless!

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  39. "Oh, me, too - I much prefer an interesting face. Real people...."

    I had to smile when I read that because I thought, "Yup...she's a LIBRA!" I am the SAME WAY!!!!

    And I love the word you used to describe how you saw these images...humanity. Because you are sooooooo right. These photographs capture HUMANITY.

    Much thanks for stopping by, girl. Hope you're having a FAB week and loving your new home!

    X

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  40. Geraldine H.June 19, 2014

    Oh my, what a great collection of photos these are! I love them all, especially the one of Audrey Hepburn. What a talented man he was.


    Thanks so much for sharing this Ron and I couldn't agree more. Beauty can take so many forms, but IMO, it's never the air-brushed, unreal images that we too often see now, that lack any "life" to them and look so empty,with no depth. These are all works of art that you've shared here.

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  41. Helloooo there Geraldine!

    Yes, don't you just love the one Audrey Hepburn? To me, it's so beautifully pensive. And I love how the raindrops on the window move over her face.

    "Beauty can take so many forms, but IMO, it's never the air-brushed, unreal images that we too often see now, that lack any "life" to them and look so empty,with no depth."

    Thank you and I sooooooo agree! That's why I really liked Avedon's photographs, because they were beautiful, but in a very natural and human way. He was so talented!

    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a terrific Thursday!

    X

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  42. nite byrdJune 20, 2014

    He truly was a master. This is the photo I always associate with him.
    http://partnouveau.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Richard-Avedon-Nastassja-Kinski-and-the-Serpent-14-June-1981-1024.jpg
    Amazing.

    Thanks for sharing those gorgeous faces!

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  43. Hiya Nitebyrd!

    You said the perfect word....a master!

    " This is the photo I always associate with him."

    OMG...yes....Nastassja Kinski! I watched a documentary on Avedon in which they spoke of that photo and how they got that shot. The snake kissed her ear (with its tongue) at the precise moment that Avedon clicked the camera!

    Thanks for stopping by, Sis! Have a super weekend!

    X ya!

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  44. Great post Ron, with some fabulous photos, I especially like the Judi Dench and Gloria Swanson ones.
    Now, I bet you thought I'd go for the Audrey picture didn't you?
    But you know what? The first thought I had was "Are you SURE that's Audrey Hepburn?", because to me it looks nothing like her, (and as you know, I'm rather an aficionado) in fact, to me it looks just like British actress Lesley Manville.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=lesley+manville&client=tablet-android-asus-rev&hl=en-US&source=android-browser-suggest&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=PGmlU-nwK4-B7QaGmIHYDA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=602&bih=963&dpr=1.33#facrc=_&imgrc=LndWE62x3GkIvM%253A%3B_EsGZxtFffGdmM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fkpitalrisk.free.fr%252Fimages%252Fstars%252F77000%252Fs___cm___lesley_manville___1___01384.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.notrecinema.com%252Fcommunaute%252Fstars%252Fstars.php3%253Fstaridx%253D77154%3B420%3B611

    (Sorry about the massive photo link)

    Thanks for a fabulous insight into a real artist of photography.

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  45. Amazing photos. And what an amazing adventure he got to have in his lifetime. Can you imagine being in the presence of all those people? It woulda blown me away to be in their company.
    I wonder if the man thought of it as a 'job'? I know it's a lot of effort sometimes, but a 'job'? Dunno......
    I'm not much of a face person. In fact, it takes me a while to notice any of the nuances that a face might have. I tend to go straight for the eyes--but I'm more of a content person. I might have a few trust issues...LOL.. I'm looking for character in personality--which I end up matching to physical characteristics. I just don't start there.
    It's no wonder you note the details first.
    Himself is like that--he'll ask if I saw the fellow with the crooked nose.
    I'da asked if he saw the guy with the red tie. LOL

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  46. Hey there Dale!

    "Now, I bet you thought I'd go for the Audrey picture didn't you?"

    HAAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, I was so thinking of you when I selected that one, you're right! And you're also right that it doesn't look like Audrey when you first look at it, because I thought the same thing. The photo was taken by Avedon for a photo spread in Vogue Magazine, Paris, back in the 1950's. I love the photograph because it's so beautifully pensive.

    Thank you for sharing the link on Lesley Manville because I didn't know who she was, and yes, the photo does resemble her.

    Aren't the images of Dench and Swanson faaaaaabulous? I am such a huge fan of Dench and have many of her films on DVD.

    Much thanks for stopping by, buddy. Have a super weekend!

    X

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  47. "Amazing photos. And what an amazing adventure he got to have in his lifetime. Can you imagine being in the presence of all those people? It woulda blown me away to be in their company."

    Yes, my thoughts exactly, Mel! Avedon had such an amazing adventure of a life, and he was a very different kind of photographer in that he was always trying to get to the 'heart and soul' of his subjects; showing things that hadn't been seen before.

    "I wonder if the man thought of it as a 'job'? I know it's a lot of effort sometimes, but a 'job'? Dunno......"

    Great question! And no, he thought of it more as a vocation. Even his fashion photographs were not like any other fashion shots. Many people didn't care for Avedon's style of photography because he wasn't afraid to shoot things that were uncomfortable to look at.

    " I tend to go straight for the eyes--but I'm more of a content person. I might have a few trust issues...LOL.. I'm looking for character in personality--which I end up matching to physical characteristics. I just don't start there."



    I LOVE how you said that because the 'eyes' are also the windows to the soul. And I too will notice (and quite immediately) the content of a person through the energy I feel coming through them. But I'm also a very visual person, so I notice the detail as well.


    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your insight on this post, dear lady. LOVED it!


    X

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  48. BenzekneesJune 21, 2014

    Like you, I tend to like faces with some character to them. This fellow was a great photographer!

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  49. Wasn't he great, Benze? And these photographs are only a fraction of the amazing photographs he took. His black and white's are my favorites!

    Thanks for stopping by, my friend!
    X

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  50. I thought I did comment on this. Well, I read it anyway, must have only thought about the comment. LOL
    Okay, if I could be Salma Hayak... ohhh YES! I probably would enjoy that for a little while. hehe Seriously, the off-kilter faces you mentioned are the ones that do show the full journey, the total beauty. Most definitely.
    I absolutely adore Dame Judi, so that is probably my favorite of the photos featured here. Not here, John Malcovich, but he's one with a somewhat odd face/body/speech who I find to be quite attractive.
    Richard Avedon must have had quite an enjoyable career.

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  51. " Well, I read it anyway, must have only thought about the comment. LOL "

    HAHAHAHAHA! Mary, you crack me up! And I LOVE it!

    "Okay, if I could be Salma Hayak... ohhh YES! I probably would enjoy that for a little while."

    OMG...I love Salma Hayak! She's beautiful! I love her dark hair and eyes.

    Isn't Dame Judi the BOMB? I adore her too and have loved her in every single movie I've ever watched.

    "Not here, John Malcovich, but he's one with a somewhat odd face/body/speech who I find to be quite attractive."

    Excellent choice! And I agree....quite attractive because he's so unique-looking. I also think that about Jeremy Irons.



    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor!


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