Irving Penn

October 8, 2009

I have to pay tribute to the great photographer Irving Penn who died yesterday at age 92.  He was an amazing photographer whose life’s work includes portraits, still lifes, platinum/palladium prints, and fashion spreads for magazines like Vogue and Bazaar.  When I was taking an alternative printing/large format photography class in the summer of 2002 at the Art Institute of Chicago, Pradip Malde, my professor at the time and now good friend, had the photography department pull some of Penn’s stunning platinum/palladium prints form their off exhibit collection.  Our class of 15 or so got to view and discuss these prints up close and personal; no glass frames or crowded gallery.  It was quite an amazing experience.  Many of you know my love for platinum/palladium prints and the exquisite detail this form of photographic printing allows, so naturally I am drawn to Penn’s platinum prints.

Some of my favorite Irving Penn Photographs

Cuzco Childern

Cuzco Children, Cuzco, Peru, 1948 – Art Institute of Chicago

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Three Asaro Mud Men

Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea, 1970 – Art Institute of Chicago

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Picasso

Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, France, 1957 – Art Institute of Chicago

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ButterflyBoy

Jerome Liebling – ‘Butterfly Boy’ - 1949, Yale University

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23617_std

The Hand of Miles Davis, New York, 1986 – The Art Institute of Chicago

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marrakech2

Woman in Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Marrakech, Morocco, 1951 – The Art Institute of Chicago

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1423_Lot100-1

Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York, 1950 – The Art Institute of Chicago

*Note: many of these images are also at other museums or collections, but I credited where I found the information.

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Irving Penn Book

While walking around Harvard Square last night with my hubby, I had to pop into the Harvard Book Store and look for an Irving Penn book.   We picked up a new book of his work just published by the John Paul Getty Museum, Irving Penn: Small Trades by Virginia Heckert and Anne Lacoste.  Amazon says is comes out October 15…guess Harvard got an advanced copy…what great luck.  I have only just begun to flip through it and am inspired all over again.  It features portraits of workers in 1950 and 1951 in Paris, London and New York dress in their work clothes and carrying the tools of their trade.  Can’t wait to post my favorites.

IrginPennSmallTradesb&w

Photo by me
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One Response to “Irving Penn”

  1. [...] he’s gone now. but more proof that simple is beautiful. check out one person’s take right here. [...]

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