Artist Profile: Irving Penn – Photographer

ArtChicago DesignInterior Design Inspiration

Feminine, chic, glamorous, and intimate.  I've been loving photographs of Irving Penn's for a long time, but recently I've been loving the depth and intimacy of his images.  I ran across a quote of Penn's which speaks to the power of his images:

"Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show the world. ...Very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe."

- Irving Penn, 1975

That statement is so true and so insightful about our society.  We all put on our best face, a bit of a facade, but underneath that is something more interesting, beautiful, quirky, and original than the surface would show.  Which is why I love Penn's images so much - in them we're able to get to view the subject on a deeper level when they really become interesting.  It's when you find out something about them that few others know, or you see a moment of weakness that they become real - and its in those intimate moments that you can connect with them.  And now for what may be a big leap - I hope that is what I can do through interior design - create spaces that while beautiful and glamorous are still intimate and are a peek into the quirks and interests of my clients. Is anyone else a fan of Irvin Penn's photography?  His 'corner' series which is always copied and never duplicated is one of my about you?
Irving Penn Photograph "Ballet Society"

Irving Penn Photograph - "Ballet Society"

Irving Penn Corner Photograph "Duchess of Windsor"

Irving Penn Corner Photograph - Duchess of Windsor

Irving Penn Photo - "Igor Stravinsky"

Irving Penn Photo - Igor Stravinsky

Irving Penn Photograph of Salvador Dali

Irving Penn Photograph - Salvador Dali

Irving Penn Photo - Mrs William Rhinelander Stewart

Irving Penn Photo - Mrs William Rhinelander Stewart

I can only imagine a salon wall like the one I did in the Palmolive Building with Irvin Penn's intimate images next to the more glorified/glamorous images of Slim Aarons.  Whose work do you prefer?  Or do you like them both but in different applications? For more examples of Irving Penn's photography, see Retronaut or for a list of Irving Penn's books see the Irving Penn Foundation