Irving Penn, was an American photographer known for his portraiture and fashion photography. He aspired to be a painter but at 26 took a job designing photographic covers for Vogue and soon was established as a fashion photographer. His austere fashion images communicated elegance and luxury through compositional refinement and clarity of line rather than through the use of elaborate props and backdrops. He branched out into portraiture after World War II and became much admired as a portraitist of celebrities. In his portraits the subject is usually posed before a bare backdrop and photographed in natural northern light. The resulting images combine simplicity and directness with great formal sophistication.
‘ Transformers’ the new editorial of Steven Meisel inspired by Irving Penn
W magazine September 2011