Ronald Fischer, beekeeper, Davis, California, May 9, 1981

In the American West

Ronald Fischer, beekeeper, Davis, California, May 9, 1981

1981, printed 1985

Richard Avedon

(American, 1923-2004)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 143.1 x 114.5 cm (56 5/16 x 45 1/16 in.); Paper: 151.5 x 119.8 cm (59 5/8 x 47 3/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2005.143

Description

Beginning in 1979, Avedon visited nearly 200 communities to chronicle often ignored and overlooked people who worked at hard, uncelebrated jobs. This iconic image is one of the most memorable portraits from the 775 he made for his landmark series In the American West. An entomologist from the University of California, Davis, brought 120,000 bees to the shoot. The perfect confluence of idea and execution resulted in this dramatic image of the beekeeper at total peace with the mass of insects arranged in an allover, abstract pattern on his upper body. Fischer’s stoic gaze perfectly fit Avedon’s new definition of a photographic portrait: "I’m looking for people who are surprising-heartbreaking-or beautiful in a terrifying way."

See also
Department: 
Photography
Type of artwork: 
Photograph

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.