Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Irving Penn

Irving Penn notably said, "A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective." Penn, who died at 92 in 2009, changed the world of fashion and portrait photography with his minimal yet graceful style. His subjects — placed on plain backdrops and shot full frame — were isolated from outside aesthetics; alone they created their own visual language. Penn's ability to effortlessly capture the essence of his subjects gained him a career at Vogue that lasted decades, gave him worldwide recognition from the art and fashion scenes and made him a household name. Penn was most famous for photographing celebrities, but his photographic style transcended fashion and portraiture through his personal work: his still lifes of found, banal objects and portraits of different cultures hold the same caution and sensibility as his commercial work. Penn's life's work is, in his words, effective.