AVEDON GETS A DIGITAL TRIBUTE: The Richard Avedon Foundation is shifting with the times with the introduction of an iPad app that gives access to more than 1,000 Avedon images. The free app, which can be downloaded in Apple’s app store today, is essentially a digital survey of Avedon’s 60-year career. The photos are divided into the categories of portraits, fashion, reportage, exhibition and magazines. Each category is further subdivided by year or subject matter. There is also a virtual guide to the archive that describes the difference between Avedon’s prints.
This story first appeared in the June 19, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“This all started two years ago when we were having discussions about the best way to come out with this,” James Martin, executive director of The Richard Avedon Foundation, told WWD.
He explained that in his world, promoting an artist includes throwing exhibitions, publishing coffee-table books and putting out catalogues. “We decided to bridge our archive with technology,” he said, noting that the archive comprises 500,000 negatives and 15,000 sittings.
In order to reflect and promote Avedon’s legacy, the foundation decided that an app would be the most effective way to show the body of the photographer’s work. “This is the best way to cover as much territory as possible,” Martin said. “It’s a free app. We aren’t going to monetize it or sell advertising space on it. As a matter of fact, we are losing money on it.”
The point of the app is to give access to Avedon’s work, he said, noting that it was created in partnership with interaction design and technology company Potion. Other initiatives to showcase Avedon’s work include upcoming exhibits at Museum Brandhorst in Munich and the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth this summer, as well as shows at the Gagosian in London and Hong Kong.
The foundation is also developing a branding and licensing program to reach a younger audience. The app is part of that outreach, said Martin, who served as Avedon’s assistant at one time.
Asked whether he thought Avedon, who died 10 years ago, would approve of the app, Martin said, “I think he was far too complicated of a man to say if he would have liked it. It just honors him.”