Fischer isn’t stung by the controversy. "I like the picture," he says of his portrait. "Obviously, it was staged; most beekeepers don’t wear their bees. But it’s still a natural picture—it’s natural bee behavior. I think those who were against Avedon before...are the ones who were most vocal about this picture when it came out."
Nowadays, when Fischer, who is single and chooses not to divulge his age, sells his Vacant Acres honey at a farmers’ market in Oak Park ($2.75 for a one-pound jar), he displays a poster of the portrait. Customers like to snap his photograph. No one, Fischer is relieved to say, has asked him to remove his shirt. Twenty-one years later, he has yet to tire of his apiarian fame. Then again, he hasn’t felt any urge to make another bee beard either.