IRVING PENN Part II: Learn From the Masters of Photography

IRVING PENN: so good I had to do a Part II on him.


I love Penn, because he is the type of photographer I aspire to.

I want to combine fashion, portraiture, minimalism, form, beauty, grace, color, and monochromic bliss to my images.

Here are some things that inspire me about his technique and vision:

  1. There is a lot you can do with a simple white backdrop.
  2. His best photos emphasize curves, texture, and flowing fabric.
  3. His photos have a strong play between dark and light.
  4. His photos of his subjects is quiet, calm, and contemplative.
  5. He was fascinated by everyday objects of stuff on the ground, like cigarette butts, and also did “street portraits” of ordinary working folk in his studio. A true historical timepiece, to show all the different and diverse jobs during his time.
  6. His medium format black and white film is timeless. He was the master of the 6×6 square image.

Images courtesy of the MET MUSEUM.