Thursday, October 08, 2009

Irving Penn - Now That's a Photographer


Before photography was accepted as art, Irving Penn knew he was an artist and created work from that mindset. His technique, which varied with the subject matter, was always perfect both in camera/capture and darkroom/post. His design sensibility was almost always a simply perfect slap upside the head that gave you one thing to look at (until you looked deeper).

Irving Penn's photographs were the first I could look at and know they were his. His commercial contemporaries, Avedon in NY and Skrebneski in Chicago, both had their own looks and while the three of them often overlapped in subject matter and the demographics of style, each was unique with Penn having even less bling than Avedon. It was but one of their competitions to see who could simplify subject matter the most to leave the viewer with nothing to appreciate but the single subject presented. As Penn was the first to head in that direction, I give him the nod.

Here is Mary Rourke's nicely written obituary on the L.A. Times site.

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