Here is the great contralto singer Marian Anderson. By waiting for the moment when Anderson closed her eyes, Avedon was able to suggest her intense inner concentration on the song and to allow us, the viewer, to focus on her mouth. Even if the viewer knows nothing about Marian Anderson, one can still see in this photograph the total commitment to her voice, that she was the very embodiment of song.
And if in fact the viewer is aware of the social context of the photograph—that Anderson fought in a very quiet and effective way to be heard in the 1930s, despite attempts by the Daughters of the American Revolution to prevent her from singing at Washington D.C.’s DAR-owned Constitution Hall because of her race, which caused First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to resign from the organization—one would be able to detect a kind of moral probity and strength in this portrait as well. (+)
20 years ago yesterday, African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century, Marian Anderson died. May her soul rest in peace.
Today, May 24, is Bob Dylan’s 71st birthday - Happy Birthday! As he’s way better with words than I am I just leave you with one of my favourite live performances of “Shelter From The Storm”.
A 90 minutes documentary about Richard Avedon / from the 1995 American Masters Series.
The record I was talking about in Photo Quiz #3 was:
Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends (Columbia Records, 1968)
Cover photo of Kruder & Dorfmeisters album ‘G-Stoned’ (left):
© G. Heller (oka lab), 1993, Portrait of Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister, Vienna
Cover photo of Simon & Garfunkels album ‘Bookends’ (right):
© Richard Avedon, Mar. 1, 1967, Portrait of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, New York
(watch the original photograph HERE)
To quote Atane: “So easy”. Here’s the price for the winner, some music:
The Wiseguys - Too Easy
“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.” (Ansel Adams)
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