Irving Penn (1917-2009) American Artist
Irving Penn is a photographer well known for his fashion photography and his work for Vogue Magazine, but I had been introduced to him thanks to the French gallery Thierry Marlat in Paris which was focusing on Penn’s work on Small Trades.
I immediately was captivated by the strength of this kind of grey backdrop portraits of simple people in the street: it was showing the latest street and travelling seller at the end of the 50’. Through this work it is an entire ending world which was propose to review ; by the details of clothes, the ancient tools, the stature and posture of the subjects and the strong features of the faces, all was revealing a past that no longer exists.
Penn’s photographs are composed with a great attention to detail, which continues into his craft of developing and making prints of his photographs.Penn experimented with many printing techniques, including prints made on aluminum sheets coated with a platinum emulsion rendering the image with a warmth that untoned silver prints lacked.His black and white prints are notable for their deep contrast, giving them a clean, crisp look.
He also took a lot of portraits from his contemporaries: Colette, Pablo Picasso, Richard Avedon, Marcel Duchamp, Igor Stravinsky…