For Half a Century, Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 – October 7, 2009) has been the leading American celebrity portraitist and fashion photographer. Throughout the entire period, he has been associated with Vogue, and most of the photographs he has published were done as editorial assignments for that magazine.
Yet, from the beginning, Penn’s work has gone beyond the merely commercial. His vision has been intensely personal in a way that has inspired projects of his own — for instance, a series of nudes done in 1949-50 — and that has allowed images first made for magazines to be re-interpreted later in aesthetic terms.
“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it; it is in one word, effective.” —Irving Penn.