Monday, March 15, 2010

Irving Penn was born on June 16, 1917, and died late 2009. Why was he such an amazing photographer? There are so many reasons. He created a different world inside of an image. He mastered the art of black and white photography. He gave the fashion world what it was missing as well as giving the art world something to talk about. He made nude photographs beautiful, not pornographic. He made artwork out of commercial photography.
He began his photography while art director for Vogue. He had become disappointed with everything the photographers were doing, so he decided to start photographing himself. He had gone to art school for drawing, but had never really dabbled in photography until then. He changed the way clothing was presented in images. Instead of putting models the way that had been done in the past, he put them in stark contrast with their surroundings. Most times only in black or white backgrounds. This accentuated the details of the clothing, as well as the model. It created an atmosphere where the viewer got to think about both the clothing and the person wearing it. They are more concerned with the character and personality of the person in the photograph than the actual clothing. He favored natural lighting, to accentuate the naturalness of each of his subjects. Every image was known for its clarity and contrast. He took pictures of a large variety of things, from clothing accessories, to nude men and women.
His nudes were very interesting for me. They were thin, thick, round, flat, every shape and size. It has been said that he posed his models as if they were still life objects, very skillfully arranged. In his nudes, there is so much natural beauty, from the lighting, photographic process, and personality of the models. The images exude innocence and exoticness at the same time. Every single one of his images is full of a mysterious life, something that is unreachable in real life that can only be seen in photographs and paintings.
There are many photographs of his that amaze me. One of my favorites is a image he did for L’Oreal makeup. It is a close up of a woman’s mouth. Her face is covered in white powder, and her lips are covered in many different colors of lipstick, it almost looks like painter’s palette. It is so beautiful. It makes you think and dream. He was so talented, both in displaying fashion and in creating art.


P.S. I got the image from :

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