“Whitney” is 30, And You Won’t Believe Who Shot the Album Cover

“Whitney” is 30, And You Won’t Believe Who Shot the Album Cover

Although Whitney Houston’s eponymous 1985 debut album introduced her to the world with such hits as “The Greatest Love of All,” it was 1987’s “Whitney” that propelled her to superstar status. Believe it or not, Houston became the first woman to debut at number 1 on the Billboard charts, and the album remained in the top slot for an astonishing 11 weeks – a feat that has only been replicated once by a female artist, Adele, since 1987.

The cover photography for “Whitney” was a dramatic departure from the staid sophistication of Houston’s first album which featured an image by Garry Gross, better known for the controversy surrounding his nude photo of a 10-year old Brooke Shields. The playful image of the beautiful 23-year old was more inline with Houston’s pop-defining sound and incredible vocal talent. The photographer?

Would you believe it was Richard Avedon?

Avedon is well-known for his black and white fashion 8×10 large format photography, but he was known to occasionally shoot with color.

Eddie Murphy, comedian, New York, May 24, 1983 #richardavedon @rollingstone @eddiemurphymusic

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Elizabeth Taylor, Beverly Hills, California, April 21, 1956 . . #richardavedon #elizabethtaylor @theacademy #hollywood #oscars

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Avedon didn’t spend much time shooting album covers, but he certainly photographed his fair share of artists and musicians throughout the decades.

Duke Ellington in front of the @apollotheater in Harlem, April 30, 1963 #richardavedon #dukeellington #apollotheater #jazz

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Prince, New York, April 9, 1995 . . #richardavedon #prince

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Ringo Starr, London, January 26, 1965 #richardavedon #ringostarr #thebeatles

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter. He co-hosts the "I Love Photography" podcast on iTunes.

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