Wednesday, October 7, 2009

RIP Irving Penn

Irving Penn died today at 92. Penn was one of the absolute giants of 20th century photography. He had an amazing career blending fashion, documentary portraiture and amazing studio work ranging from highly polished advertising and an amazing series on trash he found on the streets of New York. Penn was one of the great pioneers of advancing the power and purpose of photography not just in the mass mediums of magazines but also in galleries and museums across the globe.

One of the things I've always admired about Penn's work to this day is the controlled use of space and light. The environments he photographed people served as platforms for being able to show this person's essence. His minimalist but powerful use of big, soft and directional light shows a restraint rarely seen in today's gadget crazy portrait photography which tells you more about the toys in the studio than it really does about the person being photographed.

A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, leave the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.
Irving Penn

So here's a a few of his images, more here.

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About Me

I'm a veteran photojournalist with 20 years of experience telling stories with pictures.