Irving Penn: Food

27 November 2008 - 17 January 2009

Food united a selection of Irving Penn's photographs dating from the late 1940's through to 2000 in the first exclusive exhibition of his food still life images.

 

"Penn has been one of photography's conspicuous innovators and distinguished performers in at least two of the medium's oldest and most successful genres: still life and portraiture.", John Szarkowski.

 

The character of Penn's still life subjects is parallel to the character of his portraits; Szarkowski went on to say.  His portraits claimed people were interesting enough they did not need to be photographed with the support of a glamorous backdrop and his still lives - sides of beef, heads of cheese, spoons, cigarette butts on saucers, lipstick stains on glasses - if properly considered, contained all the necessary ingredients for a captivating plot. The food images take on striking nobility in which Penn presents order and elegant simplicity with materials that one might consider less than promising.