Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Bluffers Guide to Great Photographers #01; IRVING PENN

So many of us have heard the name and seen his photos... his style has become a watch word for how a quality black and white portrait should look, perfectly exposed often using natural light.

Irving Penn had a profound influence on my own personal photography while at university, i gave up using flash and opened windows instead or used constant light sources. Suddenly taking peoples photograph in a studio became QUIET, the sitter became much less distracted and more was gleaned by my film.

Penns portraits are soaked in this intensity and to this day the 91 year old master can still get to the core of even the most closed off and unapproachable sitters.

With a cannon of work covering from Pablo Picasso to Kate Moss he still shoots with the same no frills attitude that he extolled in 1958 after being named one of "The World’s 10 Greatest Photographers" in an international poll conducted by Popular Photography Magazine. Penn’s statement at the time is a remarkable summation of purpose and idealism: "I am a professional photographer because it is the best way I know to earn the money I require to take care of my wife and children."

It really is difficult to imagine how modern portraiture would have developed, if Penn had not been around. His work looks so incredibly familiar purely because of the massive influence he has had on photographers working today.

Have a look here at his most popular work and see what i mean....

see you in the next life.....