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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Bob Avedon’s iconic picture of the Hindenburg getting ready to burst on the ground

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Mr. Avedon was 63 when he began working for Condé Nast. Two years later, the Condé editorial director, Claire Hoffman, invited him to collaborate on an advertising photo spread at the Mayfair Hotel, where the media company held its annual Photo Show. “I was given 50 images of everything different,” he recalled in a 1983 interview with The Times. “On the flip side, we were given 50 images of everything that was same. My work had all the trappings of a fashion show — models, outfits and tears — but all the work of a magazine.”

But in an interview in the early 1990s, he revealed that his ad business dealings were much different than they seemed. In the 1980s, Mr. Avedon had licensed his ideas and photos to more than 100 advertising agencies in the United States and abroad. “It was like licensing books, I felt,” he said in the interview. “I wanted to show the imagery so it could be used by agencies instead of magazines. It started to be wonderful because they started to re-distribute the photos for shoots. … It was very far from what they assumed I was doing.”

Mr. Avedon’s story has now come full circle. An iconic image from Mr. Avedon’s many decades in the field, it is set to be displayed in Harrods, the London department store, during the November window displays. “This was a photo that was made for the Mayfair Hotel,” said a spokesman for the store. “It’s pretty significant to us that we’re bringing this image back for a very important store.”

The image in question was taken at the Bath Collection Country Club in Nashville in 1985 and was most recently exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in New York in 2005. But Harrods has always wanted it. “As soon as we saw the image in 2005, we knew we had to have it,” said the spokesman.

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