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.
October 13, 2009
Re "Irving Penn, 1917-2009: A giant figure in photography," Obituary, Oct. 8 Irving Penn applied a highly personalized style to many subjects, and he expected the same from others. When, as a teen, I showed Penn my modest portfolio, I was only hoping for a pat on the back. I got a challenge instead. "You're talented," he said, "but I see a lot of other photographers here, not you. Until you have your own vision, you're not going to go far in this business." I left the studio confused but determined to ignore the parents, teachers and classmates who were telling me to "forget that stupid photography."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2009 |
Irving Penn, a grand master of American fashion photography whose "less is more" aesthetic combined with a startling sensuality defined a visual style that he applied to designer dresses or fleshy nudes, famous artists or tribal chiefs, cigarette butts or cosmetics jars, many of them now-famous photographs owned by leading art museums, has died. He was 92. Penn died today at his apartment in New York City, said his brother, film director Arthur Penn. The cause was not given. Penn started contributing to Vogue in 1943 and became one of the first commercial photographers to cross the chasm that separated commercial and art photography until the 1970s.
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.
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.
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.