Nothing Personal




When published in 1964, Nothing Personal, a collaboration between photographer Richard Avedon and writer James Baldwin, was initially slated by many critics. How could a successful fashion photographer come up with such an angry socio-political publication like this?! The book was a large-format volume with a white-card cover and slipcase, and a title in black within a silver embossed box. Priced at $12.95 at that time, it seemed to be a commercial approach to the photo book. But Nothing Special (reissued in 1965 as a low-priced edition) was anything but commercial. It was a personal analytical indictment, which highlighted issues like the civil rights movement, protest politics of both the Left and the Right, and the American identity of the violent 1950s. Although there is hardly any cross-reference between text and photographs, both perfectly fit together and in the end the photographs and texts are mainly about a deeply rooted racism.

Spreads of the book can be seen in the archive of: