High school friends turned creative collaborators, the duo saw subjects all around them who exemplified the state of life in the US. From civil war icons to mental institute patients to ordinary Americans, Avedon made them a photographic subject: “all carefully juxtaposed, cropped, and tightly sequenced…the American Nazi Party contends with poet Allen Ginsberg, and a weary General Eisenhower gives way to the sway of Malcon X.” Paired with Baldwin’s four-part essay on the disconnectedness of society, “in the midst of an existential crisis”, the book is poignant and utterly important. In a highly personal testimony, Baldwin writes about his “own experience of harassment by a racist police officer in his native New York City”. Both artists end their work with “the inescapable need for – and power of – love”, a message needed now more than ever.
Take a sneak peek into ‘Nothing Personal’ from Avedon and Baldwin in the gallery below, and get a copy of the 1964 reprint for yourself here now. To coincide with the book’s release New York’s Pace Gallery will present a comprehensive exploration of Avedon’s photographs and documents from ‘Nothing Personal’.