***Although I have been familiar with Richard Avedon's work for a number of years, it was only recently that I became aware of his In the American West project. I had seen many of the pictures before in magazine's and compilations of his work, but it wasn't until I got a copy of 'Avedon at Work, In the American West' by Laura Wilson did I really understand the relevance of the pictures together as a whole. Reading about his working style, why he was photographing the subjects he did, the way he undertook the whole project including the importance, and attention to detail of the final print, has been hugely inspirational to me. It made think hard about what I photograph and more importantly what is important to me to photograph.***
What is even more incredible about this body of work is that he took over 15000 8x10 negatives and edited down to around 116 images, I can be corrected on this.
But these numbers are quite remarkable if you start thinking about 1. buying 15000 sheets of film and 2. processing contacting and editing.
This project was done over a relatively short period of time ,, In the book you refer to Avedon later in life was quoted as saying he wish he never quit this project.
I agree , and would love to look at the out takes,, would take a few days though.