Today is the birthday of the American portrait photographer, Irving Penn. He would have been 97 years old, but unfortunately, the legend passed away back in 2009. Penn photographed a range of topics, but was mostly known for his still life and portrait work. When discussing his predilection for animal skulls, he described them as “an exquisite edifice of living machine. Hard chambers of bone to guard soft organs, protected conduits and channels.”
Penn mainly used minimalist backdrops, preferring the focus to lie on his subjects. In one series titled, “Small Trades,” he featured workers in uniform with their tools of the trade (seen above). The photo style was achieved by using high speed roll film, to get a particularly grainy effect.
Irving Penn was surely a master at his craft. Take some time to visit some more of his work at The Getty Museum.