PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas September 2023

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Page 123 of 179

In the Eyes of Avedon Catherine Anspon: Let's begin with how you were introduced to Avedon. I know it was through your late husband, Robert A. Wilson, whose advertising and graphic design firm worked with the Amon Carter Museum. Laura Wilson: It was a quite a wonderful experience to be a young photographer who had admired Richard Avedon my entire life. He dominated photography, fashion photography, beginning in the '40s and into the '50s, and certainly the '60s and '70s. So, I was very excited about the possibility of meeting him. We went to New York — Mitch Wilder, the director of the Amon Carter, and my husband Bob — to talk to him about doing a project of portraits of people in the West. He said, "Absolutely, yes." At that point in his life, after working for 40 years in fashion photography, he was looking for a new creative inspiration. CA: Where was the initial meeting? LW: We went to his apartment on the Upper East Side, which was above his studio, up a flight of stairs. It was small, compact, but very interesting, very appealing. And we had lunch with him. He was very engaging. O n the occasion of the 100th b i r t h d a y o f R i c h a r d Avedon and his blockbuster exhibition of searing portraits of the West at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Catherine D. Anspon chats with Dallas photographer Laura Wilson, who assisted the great Avedon over the course of six summers from 1979 through 1984, organizing 752 sittings that exposed 17,000 sheets of film and orchestrating photo sessions in 189 towns throughout the swath of the Great American West, often with young sons Owen, Luke, and Andrew Wilson along for the ride. The now iconic "In the American West" series is acknowledged as a milestone in American photography and the art of portraiture, commissioned more than 40 years ago by the Amon Carter. The photographs are a bellwether in the history of the photographic medium, as is Wilson's own volume, Avedon at Work: In the American West, which celebrates its 20th anniversary. Wilson reflects upon Avedon the artist, the subjects who shattered the myth of the West, why these portraits stand the test of time, and how this assignment shaped her own path as an artist. Richard Avedon's Ruby Mercer, publicist, Frontier Days, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 7/31/82 AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, FORT WORTH; © THE RICHARD AVEDON FOUNDATION 122

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