Irving PENN, Alexander Liberman (text)

Passage. A work record


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"At age 74, reflecting on a career that spans more than half a century, one of the foremost photographers of our time has brought together for this book the images that most powerfully speak for him over the years. He has accompanied them with his own recollections.

PENN's (1917-2009) wide-ranging work includes his notable photographs for Vogue magazine: his portraits of the great, the celebrated and the anonymous; his photographs of elegant women in New York and Paris fashions; and his celebrations of men, women and children in faraway villages, jungles and savannahs on five continents. Here, too, are examples of Penn's private research and photographic obsessions, pictures of street refuse, of animal skulls, of the female nude and his memento mori." (text adapted from artbookcologne, many thx)

Press:
"In 1941 PENN, then an associate in Vogue 's art department handling the magazine's layouts, was encouraged by Alexander Lieberman to pick up a camera and do the actual photography instead. Since then, he has been producing images at once penetrating and mysterious. While Penn's incisive portraits of both the famous and the unknown--particularly ethnic peoples he posed carefully in studios--capture the specifics even as he renders the sitters timeless, his graceful yet boldly inventive fashion photography has gone far beyond the standard expectations of that genre.

In fact, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this overview is its demonstration that, in the hands of a master, the line between fashion photography and art photography simply does not exist. Irving PENN provides some rather brief commentary on the images displayed here, but the photographs themselves - thoughtfully laid out, beautifully reproduced - make the book. For all libraries that collect photography books seriously." (© Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

"Im Alter von 74 Jahren blickte einer der führenden Fotografen unserer Zeit auf eine Karriere zurück, die über ein halbes Jahrhundert andauerte und wählte für dieses Buch die Bilder aus, die am stärksten für sein Werk sprechen.

Die fruchtbarste Zusammenarbeit erlebte Irving PENN (1917-2009) mit Vogue. Viele der berühmtesten Bilder, die in der Modezeitschrift veröffentlicht wurden, entstammen seiner Kamera. Neben seinen Modefotos wurden vor allem seine Portraits weltbekannt.
Seine Aufnahme von Pablo Picasso mit Hut und Mantelkragen aus dem Jahr 1957, aus dem der Maler den Betrachter mit einem eindringlichen Auge ansieht, oder das Bild der Hand des Jazztrompeters Miles Davis wurden zu Ikonen der Porträtfotografie, genauso wie die Aufnahmen, für die er vornehmlich Künstler wie Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keeffe, Igor Strawinsky oder Spencer Tracy zwischen zwei Stellwände zwängte. Zudem enthält der Band Fotografien der Einwohner Benins (damals noch Dahomey), die ebenfalls im Auftrag von Vogue entstanden." (© artbookcologne, many thx)