Saturday, January 27, 2007

Irving Penn

Pace Macgill

Look at these, will you? If I were in New York, I might just have to stroll in. Still, the virtual view is really a treat. I found this through a link on David Byrne's site, which I like to visit now and again. "Furnishing the Self - Upholstering the Soul" indeed. It is fun to be able to venture into artists' worlds this way, secondary to in person. Today I was reading an upcoming book by Kathy Oddenino which is nearly ready for publication, and I am infused with appreciation and awe for who we are as creators in every way. These visits add to it.

"Photographing a cake can be art," Irving Penn asserted when he opened his studio in 1953. Before long he was backing up his statement with a series of advertising illustrations that created a new high standard in the field and established a reputation that has kept him in the top bracket ever since.

Penn has won renown as much in editorial photography as in advertising illustration, and his innovations especially in portraiture and still life have set him apart stylistically. In later years he turned to television commercials as a outlet for his unique talent. One of the most imitated among contemporary photographers, his work has been widely recognized and extolled.


"In addition to his work for Vogue magazine (the American, British, and French editions) Penn has been represented in many important photographic collections, including those of the Museum of Modem Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Addison Gallery of American Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

In 1958 Irving Penn was named one of "The World’s 10 Greatest Photographers" in an international poll conducted by Popular Photography Magazine. Penn’s statement at the time is a remarkable summation of purpose and idealism: "I am a professional photographer because it is the best way I know to earn the money I require to take care of my wife and children."

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