Goodbye Irving Penn

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penn ss9 Goodbye Irving Penn

Photographer Irving Penn died Wednesday morning in Manhattan at the age of 92. Philip Gefter said in 2008 that “Irving Penn photographed so many prominent cultural figures of the 20th century that, over the years, he came to be regarded as an equal among them.” (Full article here.)

A great synopsis of Penn’s work is available over at The Morgan Library & Museum website; I’ve pulled a bit for you to read here as well:

“Since the 1940s (Penn) has recorded notable figures from literature, the visual and performing arts, and other fields. He made many of these portraits for Vogue, where his pared-down, frank compositions helped define the look of the magazine, and also established an important aesthetic for modernist photography. Penn’s signature portrait style consists of placing a figure in the natural light of the studio, with only rudimentary props included to facilitate the composition. This approach produces an intense engagement between the subject and the photographer, yet permits remarkable variation.”

We certainly appreciate his work, and wanted to take a moment to acknowledge his passing. Being involved with Photography.Book.Now gives us exposure to tremendous talent; perhaps some of these folks will follow in Penn’s legendary footsteps.

Photo attribution:
Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea, 1970
platinum/palladium print, 1976
51.1 x 49.5 cm (20 1/8 x 19 1/2 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Irving Penn
Copyright 1974 by Irving Penn, Courtesy of Vogue

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  1. irving penn’s exhibition over 20 years ago at the Victoria and Albert Museum in london was what made me become a photographer.
    he was the best….no doubt about it.just ask bailey.

      October 11, 2009 – 4:20 pm   Permalink
  2. He was one of my influences in photography.

      October 12, 2009 – 5:20 pm   Permalink

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