Elise Daniels with Street Performers

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Avedon’s Portfolio: Start With Fashion, End with Art. From the New York Times. Friday. May 15 2009.

Richard Avedon took inspiration from great Paris street photographers like Cartier-Bresson and Brassai but used the model to set up an almost jarring tension between the artificial and the everyday. This is especially the case with the famous “Elise Daniels with Street Performers,” shot in Paris in 1948, with a decrepit Marais apartment building as backdrop. Wearing a broad “picture” hat and a Balenciaga suit, the model stands hands on hips by a table comandeered as a stage by a contortionist while a weight lifter and a horn player do their things. She is in many ways an alien among aliens, observed by clutch of normal Parisians. (In an alternate shot, included in the catalog, the table is bare, and two acrobats, one doing a handstand on the other’s hand, round out the group.)

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