Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American photographer. An obituary published in The New York Times said that "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century." Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish Russian family. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he worked on the school paper with James Baldwin. After briefly attending Columbia University, he started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of the crewmen with his Rolleiflex camera given to him by his father as a going-away present. In 1944, he began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. Lillian Bassman also promoted Avedon's career at Harper's.