Amon Carter Museum Presents Lecture by Laura Wilson, Author of Avedon at Work: In the American West

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Release date: 
October 24, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas --- The Amon Carter Museum hosts author and photographer Laura Wilson for a special lecture entitled Richard Avedon Remembered on Sunday, November 13, at 3 p.m. in the museum auditorium. Wilson’s book Avedon at Work: In the American West provides a behind-the-scenes account of internationally acclaimed photographer Richard Avedon’s (1923--2004) groundbreaking project, In the American West, which was commissioned by the Carter in 1979 and res ulted in a 1985 landmark exhibition. A twentieth-anniversary reprise of In the American West and an exhibition of Wilson’s images from her book are on view at the Carter through January 8, 2006.

When Avedon was first commissioned by the Carter, he needed an assistant to scout photographic possibilities. He found such a person in Laura Wilson, a young Dallas photographer. She began by searching out public functions where large groups of people gathered, events such as the Rattlesnake Roundup held each March in Sweetwater, Texas. She also researched background info rmation about economic conditions in oil, mining and agriculture, along with listings of fairs, carnivals and rodeos.

Once at the location, Wilson would seek out interesting-looking people, make suggestions to Avedon about subjects and approach people about the possibility of sitting for a portrait. During those six summers, Wilson approached 753 people; 752 agreed to sit. In the end, Avedon, Wilson and other assistants traveled through 13 states and 1,892 towns from Texas to Idaho.

Wilson and Avedon remained close friends after In the American West was completed, and she continued to work with him at different times over the following 20 years. In her lecture, Wilson will discuss Avedon’s creative process, working methods and choice of subjects, as well as his experiments and failures.

About Laura Wilson

Photographer Laura Wilson is the author of two previous books, Hutterites of Montana and WattMatthews of Lambshead, and has published her work in many publications, ranging from The NewYork Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post Magazine to London’s Sunday TimesMagazine. Wilson’s photography has also been included in numerous gallery shows. The 2002 exhibition Making Movies featured her photographs of her sons Andrew, Owen and Luke Wilson. Raised in rural Massachusetts, Laura Wilson now lives in Dallas.

In the American West: Photographs by Richard Avedon is organized by the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Generous funding for the exhibition is provided by the Katrine M. Deakins and Crystelle Waggoner Charitable Trusts, Bank of America.

The Star-Telegram is the official print sponsor of the Amon Carter Museum.