Best known for his fashion photography, Penn’s repertoire also includes portraits of creative greats; ethnographic photographs from around the world; Modernist still lifes of food, bones, bottles, metal, and found objects; and photographic travel essays.
Irving Penn was among the first photographers to pose subjects against a simple grey or white backdrop and he effectively used this simplicity. Expanding his austere studio surroundings, Penn constructed a set of upright angled backdrops, to form a stark, acute corner. Penn’s manipulation of formal design elements such as light and shadow, and his ability to capture a significant gesture, expression, or mood, ultimately reveal something intriguing about his subjects.
Yves Saint Laurent
Philip Seymour Hoffman