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Random House Publishing Group, Fall 2018

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    9780525494669 Downloadable audio file, $36.5 CAD 9780812994438 Hardback, $54 CAD 9780812994445 Electronic book text, Reflowable, , EPUB
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    Distributor: Random House, Inc. Availability: On Sale Date: Oct 30, 2018 Carton Quantity: 24 $27.00 CAD
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Something Personal
By (author): Norma Stevens By (author): Steven M. L. Aronson
9780812984866 Paperback, Trade English BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Artists, Architects, Photographers Jan 02, 2080
$27.00 CAD
Postponed indefinitely 6.13 x 9.25 in 720 pages BLACK&WHITE PHOTOS THROUGHOUT Spiegel & Grau
An intimate, shockingly candid portrait of the most famous photographer of the 20th century by his closest collaborator, Norma Stevens, whom Avedon acknowledged as both “the soul and the engine of my working life and my great friend.”

Richard Avedon was for decades the star photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and then Vogue - he singlehandedly invented the concept of the supermodel. When he enlarged his focus to embrace portraiture, he virtually reinvented the genre, creating the images that continue to define the America of his time (the 1940s through the Millennium). Personally he possessed a charisma so strong it was itself a kind of genius. The lead character in the musical Funny Face was based on his aura and his career, and was played by no less than Fred Astaire.

This authoritative, fast-moving, and ebullient book by Norma Stevens, his business partner and confidante of 30 years, and Steven M. L. Aronson, a veteran author and journalist, traces Avedon’s life from his humble New York childhood to his death in 2004 at the age of 81 while on a shoot for The New Yorker (Tina Brown had anointed him the magazine’s first-ever staff photographer in 1992). It elucidates his multifaceted career, which encompassed such groundbreaking and controversial bodies of work as his brutally honest portraits of his father in old age and his “In the American West” series. Stevens and Aronson interviewed more than 250 of Avedon’s friends, lovers, associates, assistants, museum professionals and art dealers, and fashion models and portrait sitters. Included are the first-hand reminiscences of Mike Nichols, Twyla Tharp, Calvin Klein, David Remnick, Naomi Campbell, Jerry Hall, Linda Evangelista, Adam Gopnik, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Isaac Mizrahi, Bruce Weber, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Donatella Versace, Jann Wenner, Isabella Rossellini, and dozens more.

Author Norma Stevens was a top advertising copywriter and creative director on Madison Avenue (a self-described “Madwoman”) when Avedon made her his business partner in 1976. She collaborated with him on all commercial, editorial, and fine arts projects, traveled the world with him for his ad campaigns and museum exhibitions, presided over many of his sittings, and was the repository of all of his confidences. Avedon encouraged Stevens to someday tell the truth about his life, and that is what she has done. Like Avedon’s own defining photographs of celebrities, she succeeds in giving us the person beneath the surface, in all his prodigious - and suffering - humanity.

Publication History: Spiegel & Grau HC (11/17)

DEPICTS THE EPITOME OF GLAMOUR FROM THE MID-1940s THROUGH THE MILLENNIUM. Avedon famously photographed Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy, Judy Garland, Coco Chanel, Andy Warhol, Prince, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and on and on. His friends included Truman Capote and James Baldwin (with each of whom he collaborated on a book), Leonard Bernstein, Twyla Tharp, Mike Nichols, and Jerome Robbins.


In his Last Will and Testament, Avedon created the Richard Avedon Foundation and appointed NORMA STEVENS its director. In the five years that she led it, she initiated international gallery shows and museum exhibitions and oversaw the publication of five books of Avedon photographs down to the last detail. In 2012 she co-edited the book New York at Night: Photography After Dark. STEVEN M.L. ARONSON, who first met Richard Avedon in 1970, is the author of Hype and the co-author of the Edgar Award-winning Savage Grace. A former book editor, he has written for Vanity Fair, Vogue, Interview, New York, Esquire, Architectural Digest, and The Nation. Both authors live in New York City.

Author Residence: New York, NY

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Publicity: New in Paperback

“It’s a good time, this book. There’s a feeling of arriving at a party where everyone is at least two drinks (and who knows what else) ahead of you, and the hostess has you by the arm and is barreling you into the thick of things, talking a mile a minute, catching you up on everyone’s hidden agendas…. [Norma] Stevens is most illuminating in her behind-the-scenes glimpses of [Richard] Avedon’s work…. Everyone saw one side of him—but together the testimonials of his assistants, models and lovers add up to a mosaic of the man. The snapshots are affectionate and admiring, and the contradictions in them can give you whiplash.”The New York Times

“Intimate and dishy in its conversational tone, the book makes you feel as though you are nose to nose trading stories with a vivacious confidant, your most fabulous friend telling you unabashed and juicy truths…. This roomy account fills in the renowned white space surrounding Avedon, a man who curated his reputation as carefully as he did his output, remaining relentlessly private even as he revealed the era’s most incandescent personalities in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, The New Yorker and more. Notably, this book gives these luminaries—including Renata Adler, Mike Nichols, Naomi Campbell, Veruschka, and Twyla Tharp—the chance to speak illuminatingly on the man who captured them on film. It’s a saucy meandering from anecdote to anecdote, the pace set by the steady thump of name-dropping…. By the end of these 720 sumptuous pages, Stevens and [Steven M. L.] Aronson have telescoped Avedon’s star into much clearer view.”Chicago Tribune

“Although the bitchier and more salacious anecdotes…will likely earn the book a good deal of attention, the cast of characters is most interesting when discussing Avedon’s central struggle: Should he direct his talents to selling the lie or revealing the truth?…The composite portrait that emerges…depicts a frantic, insecure artist consumed by ambition. Testimonies—especially those by Avedon’s former studio assistants and managers—also reveal a man capable of great generosity and unadulterated joy.”The Wall Street Journal

“[Offers] loads of personal information here to horrify an estate that would prefer to paint an unblemished face on the reputation of the deceased…Balancing the disclosure of these secrets, however, the authors dazzle us with stories from models, writers, editors, actors, and friends that attest to [his] electrifying and seductive intelligence…. [The book] is huge and packed with entertaining trivia…as well as characters seldom encountered in previous books about Avedon…. If nothing else, [it] has peeked under the mask worn by its attractive subject.”Collector Daily (Photobooks)

“Capacious and valuable…Avedon lived a rich, full life, and a rich, full life has sex, love, food, clarity, contradiction.”HuffPost

Avedon: Something Personal gives you the gossip. Snap!”New York

“If you’re into pop culture, you’ll inhale Avedon: Something Personal.”—Kitty Kelley

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