September 12, 2009 |
A 1950 photograph by Irving Penn shows a London seamstress with the tools of her trade -- thread, pins, tape measure, fabric -- her right hand casually tucked inside one pocket, her other shrouded inside a partially sewn sleeve. Plainly dressed and wearing stereotypically sensible shoes, so different from the clothing worn by the fashionable people likely to employ her, she looks implacably into the camera's lens. The ruddy seamstress wears black-rimmed glasses, helpful to her detailed labor.
October 18, 2009 |
There will always be beauty, style and grace on the pages of fashion magazines and books, but the death of Irving Penn this month marks the end of an era of seminal photography. Penn, along with Richard Avedon, who died in 2004, practically invented modern fashion photography -- a place where art meets commerce -- in the mid-20th century. The influence of both artists -- along with a small group of mavericks who came after them -- figures prominently in fashion editorial and advertising campaigns to this day. Their striking images shaped how the world saw fashion and have long been ingrained in our psyches.
February 7, 2008 |
The latest addition to the J. Paul Getty Museum's vast collection of photographs is the master set of Irving Penn's largest body of work, "The Small Trades." Initially produced in 1950-51 and refined over subsequent decades, the portfolio of 252 full-length portraits depicts skilled tradespeople dressed for work and equipped with their tools. Each subject is portrayed like a statue, standing in the center of a plain background in natural light. Penn, an American who became known as a fashion and advertising photographer, shot the first pictures as an assignment from Vogue magazine in Paris.
April 26, 1992
Thank you and Denise Hamilton for the article on Valentin Berezhkov (Times, April 12.) My mother, the former Elizabeth Gibbons, was a fashion model in New York during the Second World War years. She posed for such celebrated artists and photographers as Man Ray, John Engstead, Louise Dahl Wolfe, Jean Cocteau and Irving Penn. My mother was a Red Cross volunteer stationed in the Philippines during some of those years, and knew Harry L. Hopkins and his wife. My uncle, Thomas Hanson, was in the Secret Service guarding F.D. Roosevelt and his family.
June 10, 1990
I am writing a book based upon the reminiscences and memories of fashion models who posed from 1937 until 1950. I would like to hear from Meg Mundy and others from the "Twelve Most Beautiful Women," shot in 1947 by Irving Penn. I would like to hear from any models who, like my mother, Elizabeth Gibbons-Hanson, posed for such artists and photographers as Man Ray, George Platt Lynnes, Jean Cocteau, Louise Dahl-Wolfe and John Engsteadt. I would also like to hear from anyone who knew George White, head of the narcotics agency until his retirement in the '60s.
October 1, 2006 |
A platinum-palladium print of Penn's image will be included in the fall auction preview at Christie's Beverly Hills Oct. 3-6. * Conde Nast, the parent company of Vogue, still provides a full-time studio for Irving Penn because the fashion magazine publishes new work by him regularly. Now approaching his 90th birthday, Penn has photographed for Vogue continuously since 1943. This longevity is the result of an equilibrium Penn has maintained throughout his career.