An introduction to history of irving penn

Penn, the brother of the motion-picture director Arthur Penninitially intended to become a painter, but at age 26 he took a job designing photographic covers for the fashion magazine Vogue. He began photographing his own ideas for covers and soon established himself as a fashion photographer.

An introduction to history of irving penn

Leave a reply Fig. It is one of the few subjects where the artist controls the subject as well as the lighting, exposure, framing and final presentation. Like many of these artists Penn take humble subjects, pays them great attention through his approach and creates artistic representations that might alter the viewers preconceptions of that object or might just make us feel better by seeing something simple presented as beauty.

My research suggests that Penn was not a man who talked much about his work so it is not clear whether his commercial career was being parodied by his personal work or whether he saw them as quite separate streams or whether one just bled into the other.

He is described as a prolific and incredibly hard working photographer who would often spend his days photographing for Vogue or Harpers Bazaar and his nights working on his own projects.

Often his day job was to make the mundane beautiful or to empathise and express the obvious beauty in his subject yet in his private work he time and time again selects ordinary everyday items and creates beautiful pictures by exploring the colours, textures, shapes and forms in his elegant, minimalist still lifes.

In many ways his two worlds seem closely entwined.

Essentials

Very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject dares to believe. Whatever his motivation might have been we are offered a remarkable collection of images in Still Life that lead us to much larger series along a variety of themes. My perspective on the photographs in this book has changed over the last two weeks as I have been working on test shoots of assignment 4.

An introduction to history of irving penn

It is only by trying to create a compelling still life that one realises that this is a highly challenging art form. This is photography with no excuses other than a shortfall of skill in one or more areas. There are common stylistic themes such as a simplicity of lighting and an elegance of set design combined with a formal complexity in his composition but over the many years represented by this book he switched back and forth between black and white and colour, between an emphasis on texture, a focus on shape and form and exercises in colour.

An introduction to history of irving penn

He asks us questions to which we may never know the answers. Does his extensive series of, what we would call dog-ends, represent a cycle of life from neat unused items in a pack to used and discarded rubbish in the gutter to being re-organised and painstakingly lit and photographed?

Are his flowers symbolic of the fragility of nature and life or did he just see the opportunity to undertake intense studies of form and colour? His education and knowledge of the history of photography and art meant that vanitas motifs were naturally introduced into his sets but there may not have been a strong moralistic message.

It is, in a word, effective. As I have worked through test shoots for assignment 4 I have been frustrated by the idea that we should use a single subject and light it to bring out different properties.

Whilst I would in no other way compare myself to Irving Penn I suspect he might have shared this frustration. In Lavender Glory he sees wonderful texture and invests himself in bringing out that feature, the apple and the cheese offer him a captivating colour contrast in Ripe Cheese so that is what he concentrates on.

I do not believe that he would have then considered lighting the cheese and apple as a silhouette because that would have been pointless. Sources 1 Penn, Irving. Bullfinch Press Internet Vogue Archives.DO YOU KNOW THE OLDEST ART EVER FOUND?

Oldest Works of Stone Age Art. History of Art Our coverage of Prehistoric art features the oldest art from across the globe. Dating to the lower Paleolithic era of the Stone Age between , and , BCE, it includes the strange phenomenon of cupules, the Venuses of Berekhat Ram and Tan-Tan, and the Blombos Cave petroglyphs.

Penn's famous portrait of Picasso, with the great cyclopean eye, the bullfighter's cape, the ethnic hat, the dramatic lighting, etc., seems to this viewer a marvelous triumph of skill, an admirable act of legerdemain, but something less than a true portrait, if one takes as a .

The Columbia University Statistical Laboratory (location unknown) includes Hollerith tabulating, punching, and sorting machines, Burroughs adding machines, Brunsviga and Millionaire calculators (the latter was the first device to perform direct multiplication), plus reference works such as math and statistical tables.

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Masters of Photography: Irving Penn