‘In portrait photography there is something more profound we seek inside a person, while being painfully aware that a limitation of our medium is that the inside is recordable only so far as it is apparent on the outside.’ – Irving Penn.
Irving Penn, famed for his fashion and advertising photographs, was an equally accomplished portraitist with a signature style.
His subjects included a wide spectrum of individuals: writers, dancers, artists, socialites, musicians, political figures and celebrities.
Sometime in 1948, Penn constructed a small corner space in his studio, and the resulting ‘corner portraits’ are some of his most distinctive.
Mr. Penn himself remarked: “a very rich series of pictures resulted. This confinement, surprisingly seemed to comfort people, soothing them.”
The sitters become isolated. And in the vacuum of Penn’s corner, the nuances of the sitter’s personality fill the space.
Irving Penn’s portraits are surveyed in an esteemed catalogue published by the National Portrait Gallery, United Kingdom with an essay by Magdalene Keeney and a foreward by Sandy Nairne.