The noise doesn’t matter


In the middle of September 1952, Charlie Chaplin came to Richard Avedon’s photo studio. Avedon, then 29, had been chasing him for years, but Chaplin never answered his letters. And then the phone rang. Avedon thought it was a joke and hung up, but Chaplin called back and said he was coming right over. Avedon sent his assistants out of the studio so that there would be no distractions.

At first, Avedon shot a few pictures straight on, “almost as though I was doing a passport picture.” When Avedon thought he had his shot, Chaplin asked, “Now, I could do something for you.” He lowered his head, and came up grinning in extreme closeup, with his fingers forming horns on the side of his head—the great god Pan. […]

It seems that Avedon had a Hi-how-are-you friendship with the man who ran the shoeshine stand in the building that housed Avedon’s studio. One day he asked what Avedon did for a living, and Avedon told him he was a photographer. A year or so later, the shoeshine man told Avedon his daughter was getting married. “I will let you be the photographer,” he told Avedon, undoubtedly thinking he was doing him a favor.

Avedon took his Rolleiflex to Long Island and shot the wedding.

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photo { Richard Avedon, Chalrie Chaplin, 1952 }