Although he was best known for his fashion photography, Penn created more than one hundred still lifes over the course of his career. These images reflect his initial training as a painter as well as his studies with Brodovitch. His objects are often carefully laid out against a simple background, replicating his signature, minimalistic style, allowing the viewer to render their complete focus onto the subject.
Former curator of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, John Szarkowski once commented, “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.”
Penn’s still lifes are still some of the most coveted of his pictures, and a monograph of many of these images was published with a forward by Swarkowski in 2001 by Bullfinch Press.