An obituary, published in The New York Times following Avedon's death said that, "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half- century.
Born in New York City to a Russian Jewish family, Avedon began taking pictures in 1944 while in the Merchant Marines. Afterwards he began working as a photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar.
In 1966, Avedon left Harper's Bazaar to work as a staff photographer for Vogue magazine. He proceeded to become the lead photographer of Vogue and photographed most of the covers from 1973 until Anna Wintour became editor in chief in late 1988.