Irving Penn Whitney Campbell p2


o Born June 16, 1917 in Plainfield, New Jersey

o Occupation: Photographer

o Died October 7, 1992 (92 years old) in Manhattan New York, New York

Style of Photography

• He is best known for his fashion photography

• He is also talented in areas of Portraits, Ethnographic photography from around the world, and Still Life’s (Modernists)

Specific Techniques

• He emphasized the simplicity of taking photos

• Constructed a set of upright angled backdrops

• In his Still Life’s he deeply indicated line and volume

• He was notably known for having deep contrast in his Black and White photographs to create a “crisp Look”

Photographer Information

• Worked for Saks Fifth Avenue in his early career but was known for his work at Vogue Magazine

• Some of Penn’s early influences were his Art Instructor, Alexey Brodovitch, and Alexander Liberman. Liberman was the one who first offered Penn a job at Vogue.

• Penn was known for using natural light in his photographs to capture the pureness and simplicity of the subject

• Along with natural light, he used moving light.

• He eventually started using a Tent Studio because he said he felt as if he was in limbo.

Camera Usage

• Penn used a variety of equipment

• Leica and Nikon were his most common camera

• 4”x5” or 8”x10”

• Used Deardoff views camera or Rolleiflex or Hasselblad cameras

• He used three different types pf printing techniques to create glossy ‘vintage’ silver photographs; Platinum, Palladium Works, and Dye Transfer Prints


• In 1941 Penn traveled through Mexico and South America painting and taking photographs. Ultimately he was disappointed in his work and destroyed all of his work from the trip.

• In 1940 he took his art instructors position at Saks Fifth Avenue as Art Director

• After the Second World War Penn undertook a major personal project- Fleshy Nudes. He started this project to experiment with the printing to “break through the slickness of the image.” His project was deemed to provocative and wasn’t printed until decades later.

• Through his position at Vogue, he traveled the world taking fashion photographs.

Fun Facts

• Penn was born to a Russian Jewish family

• Worked for two years as a freelance designer

• In 1943 Penn’s first photograph appeared as the cover of Vogue Magazine, just two years after he was offered a job there.

• Married Supermodel Lisa Fonssagrives in 1950 after photographing her in a photo shoot in 1947

• Although Penn was the most well-known photographer of the twentieth century, he was not a fan of the limelight and was known or keeping to himself.

• In 1992 his wife died in April and he soon died later that year in his Manhattan home

• During his lifetime Penn established The Irving Penn Foundation.

I chose Irving Penn as my famous photographer because next year I will be double majoring in Business Marketing and Fashion Merchandising. I will hopefully end up in New York City working for a big name fashion designer helping with their marketing and planning of events; such as events and fashion shows I have always had a passion for fashion and my favorite magazine is Vogue. I thought it would be interesting to get to know Penn more being as he was the best photographer in the fashion industry in the twentieth century and I will be entering a career in that industry.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.