Photographers Calle (III): Irving Penn

Street Photography (III): Irving Penn


piercing glances that go beyond paper, portrait culture at its finest. Speaking of Irving Penn is talk of photographic art of the twentieth century. The photographer who portrayed as one of the legends of his time.

Irving Penn is probably one of the great photographic portrait painters of the twentieth century. Born in New Jersey in 1917, was mainly devoted to fashion photography and portraits.


This great photographer played his work in numerous media, but should emphasize its role in , which published its first cover 1 October 1943. Throughout his career portrayed countless celebrities from the world of art, fashion and film. This applies to Woody Allen, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miró

But let’s focus on what interests us. Technical photographer. Penn was a major breath of fresh air in the art scene, based on the simplicity of his photographs. Today we could talk about minimalism. The use of an extremely simple light and neutral backgrounds changed from head to toe canons until that moment immovable. If we look, we see that in the vast majority of portraits used simple, white or gray backgrounds, with a almost total absence of furniture. In fact, their models they used to sit on a chair, blankets or even on the floor.

The big step in his career came when he joined the American edition of Vogue as assistant artist Alexander Liberman (art director thereof). Thus was gradually gaining international renown thanks to the portraits of models for publication, full of elegance and glamor.

 Photographer putting the players in your photo. Source: Graffica

Photographer putting the players in your photo. Source: Graffica

Penn showed in the photo your photographic knowledge, making collections of photographs that elegance was a problem. Images that mostly done in black and white, because the monochrome brought him the degree of expression necessary to engage the audience. Photographs in which the model monopolized hundred percent attention. This was basically the great skill of Penn: be able to contextualize the person so that his body was his ultimate form of expression This way, everyone who passed before his camera received. the same treatment. Also, instead of offering spontaneity, Penn was able to hypnotize the viewer with fixed and maintained poses. Nothing escaped the edges of his photographs, he was able to mask perfectionism through simplicity and almost all his work decided to show the whole body of his sitters.

The great American photographer was recognized throughout his career with several of the most important awards in photography. received the Hasselblad Award in 1985 and Culture Prize of the German Association of Photography in 1987. He also published several books and made numerous exhibitions.

Penn died in 2009 at the 92 years old, leaving behind a remarkable work that remain indelible in the history of art. A photographer who helped build the collective imagination of the twentieth century.

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer in a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective. ” . One of the maxims of Irving Penn

Here are some of his most representative photographs, many with a dramatic quality amazing, from the Instituto :

Source: english  
April 7, 2015


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