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Irving Penn: Centennial

From still life projects from early on in his career, including an entire room devoted to strikingly simple yet somehow prodigious images of cigarette butts (he was a well-known fiend and fan of nicotine), to his later work including study abroad images from Peru, the multi-faceted portfolio is incredible.

 

His ability to turn the humble, overlooked objects from their plebian place to the pedestals they now inhabit at the MET translates in his portrait series he did focusing on working-class tradespeople. The most beautiful thing about Penn's work, and this is made crystal clear in seeing it all there, is that whether he was focusing his rollei on Audrey Hepburn or his milkman, he put all of his energy into creating an equally respectful and near-to-perfect print. 

 

If you do not care about photography, go anyways. You will at least see a prime example of someone who worked hard and cared for his craft. That is something almost anyone can take away from. 

 

And if you truly have no soul, you can at least get a selfie in front of his famous backdrop. 

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