The Family & Obama's People

I just saw the Richard Avedon : Portraits of Power show last night at the San Diego Museum of Art. My first reaction after walking through for a brief overview was "Where the hell are the American West" Portraits? So I went back and reread the synopsis of the show and realized this was all about Power and Politics. Okay, now that I had some context I was ready to dig in and check out the show. It is a really impressive body of work (as if that needed to be said), but what stuck out for me was to see "The Family" project commissioned by Rolling Stone in 1976. It was a year long project Avedon embarked on to photograph the polital and business leaders at the time of America's Bicentenial. 69 portraits of some of the greatest American leaders form the last half century. Greald Ford, President at the time, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, not yet President, Kissenger, Tip O'Niel, Lady Bird....It's such an awesome group of portraits. Most stand well on their own, but it's the group of all 69 prints hanging on top of each other in 3 rows of 23 that is so impressive. It immediately brought to mind Obama's People, shot by Nadav Kander earlier this year after Obama was elected, but before the innaguaration. I remeber being blown awy when I got The New York Times Magazine which featured the portraits by Kander. Avedon's project has proven to be seminal and I imagine Kander's will as well. I love the lack of propping, even less so in Avedon's. Probaby simply for the fact that we weren't carrying around so much stuff, like Iphone/blackberrys, 33 years ago. 2 great portrait artists at their best!

Some of my favorites from Obam's People are Rahm Emanuel | Chief of Staff, Marvin Nicholson | White House Trip Director, David Axelrod | Senior Advisor, Robert Gibbs | Press Secretary, & Carol M. Browner | Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator
The whole series can be viewed here:
Obama's People

Some of my favorites from The Family are Charles Shaffer | Attorney, F. Edward Hebert | Congressman LA, Cesar Chavez | Founder UFWU, & Elliot Richardson | Us Secretary of Commerce.
The whole series can be viewed here:
The Family