Sid Avery (1918 – 2002) was an American photographer and director who was best known for capturing the private moments of legendary Hollywood celebrities like Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor. Avery founded the Hollywood Photographer's Archive (HPA), which is known today as mptvimages.com, in an effort to preserve the work of early Hollywood photographers. A selection Sid Avery's works – curated by Jason Minty – is currently displayed at Becker Minty in Sydney. The opening night was a celebration of Avery’s works and life with the sharing of tales of his legendary subjects to boot.
Oceans Eleven Cast, 1960
Sammy Davis Jr with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop
Having studied under his uncle, Max Tatch, a landscape and architectural photographer, Avery discovered his love and talent of photography when he was young. After graduating from high school, Avery worked in a camera store on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, where he met many famous photographers. He began his work of photographing celebrities straight after returning from the war, and eventually became one of the top advertising photographers in Los Angeles.
Dean Martin and his Facel Vega HK500 in the driveway of his Beverly Hills home on Mountain Drive, 1961
Avery was key to pioneering a new style of glamour photography that emerged in the fifties. “Candid” was the word in vogue and it was Avery’s ability to candidly capture the private lives of celebrities that lead him to became the go-to photographer for magazine editors and art directors, and be named “Hollywood's Private Eye” by Vanity Fair.
Elizabeth Taylor sunning herself while on location in Marfa Texas for the film Giant, 1955
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward at their Beverly Hills home, 1958
After Avery passed away at the age of 83 in 2002, the New York Times described his work to be "a departure from the glamorized, soft-focus portraits of an earlier Hollywood era when images of the stars were tightly controlled by the major studios."
Debbie Reynolds before going into Paramount to film The Pleasure of His Company with her Lincoln Mark 2, 1960
Frank Sinatra at a Capitol Records recording session in Los Angeles, circa 1960