Penn inc.

Posted on May 6, 2010


Irving Penn is rightly considered one of the greatest portrait photographers of our time, so it is only fitting that a major exhibition of his work should be on display at The National Portrait Gallery in London.

This exhibition, brought together from major international collections and which includes over 120 silver and platinum prints, ranges from his early portraits for Vogue magazine in the 1940s to some of his final work.

Cover portrait for Vogue, June 1950

With a career spanning almost 70 years, Penn captured some of the most enduring portraits of historical figures form the worlds of literature, performing arts, film and music. His subjects include, Richard Burton, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Rudolf Nureyev, Luwig Mies van der Rohe, Jaques-Yeves Cousteau, Pablo Picasso and Alfred Hitchcock to name but a few.

Pablo Picasso, 1957

Penn’s portraiture was deliberately and precisely posed, however he managed to convey the essence of the subject with sensitivity, and their energy virtually pours from the pictures. His use of lighting and composition (often shooting his subject in a tight corner) is explored in depth in this wonderful exhibition, which ends on 6th of June.