“What I really try to do is photograph people at rest, in a state of serenity,” Irving Penn revealed. The artist’s intuitive ability to discern the moment of effortless repose appears time and again in his work, whether taking portraits of famous figures or when creating images of anonymous archetypes. Penn’s ability to bridge the distance between commercial and personal work enabled him to experiment in both arenas as a means to inform each other, producing a series of works that have their own private dialogue with one another.
On view now through April 16, 2016, Masters Projects, Brooklyn, presents Irving Penn: Women, Warriors, which brings together posed nudes from 1949-50 with ethnographic portraits in Africa and the South Pacific made through the 1970s. It is in these two series that we can see Penn using his talents and techniques to push the boundaries of classical photography.
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Photo: Irving Penn. Five Moroccan Women, 1971. Platinum palladium print. 20 1/8 x 19 ¾ in.