Irving Penn

I'm trying to add a new habit to my repertoire: watching or reading something relatively educational as I eat my lunch.  To be clear, "educational" in this case has a broad definition.  It basically means I'm hoping to learn something new or augment my understanding of something I'm curious about.

I recently watched a documentary on Diana Vreeland.  (I think I need to set aside another blog post about her.)  But in the midst of the documentary, a luscious photo had about two seconds of airtime while she mentioned the work of Irving Penn.

Here's the photo.

Cottage Tulip "Sorbet", New York, 1967
Platinum-palladium print
©Conde Nast
Photographer: Irving Penn

How did I not know about Irving Penn?

It's become clear that I know very few photographers' names, outside of those who create nature/landscape images.  But so many of Penn's images were familiar to me and I'm sorry to say I hadn't realized who made them.  

Irving Penn.

Born in 191, he had a decades-long career that spanned all manner of photography, from fashion to travel and still life.  He immersed himself in experimenting with processing techniques from prior centuries to capture the tonal qualities he wanted in reproductions of his work, eventually perfecting a technique for printing on palladium and platinum metals.   He turned to drawing and painting as respite from his camera work.  He passed away in 2009, having had exhibitions at MOMA, the Met, and the Marlborough Gallery.  

Amazing.  Here's a link to the Irving Penn Foundation where you can see some of his iconic images.