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Irving Penn: Small Tradesby Virginia Heckert
Synopses & Reviews
Photographer Irving Penn (b. 1917) is renowned for his innovative contributions to portrait, still life, and fashion photography, and a career that has spanned more than six decades at Vogue magazine. In 1950, Vogue assigned Penn to photograph workers in Paris, and thus his monumental work The Small Trades began. Created in 1950 and 1951 in Paris, London, and New York, The Small Trades consists of portraits of skilled trades people dressed in their work clothes and carrying the tools of their respective trades. Capturing the humble coal heaver and the crisply dressed waiter with equal directness, Penn's arresting portraits also underscore fascinating cultural differences.
The Small Trades was Penn's most extensive body of work, and he returned to it over many decades, producing ever more exacting prints. Two hundred and six unique images from the series are flawlessly reproduced in this book. In addition, the introductory essay describes the history and context of The Small Trades series and its importance to Penn's career and the history of photography. An interview with Edmonde Charles-Roux, the chief editor for French Vogue from 1952 to 1966, who assisted him on the assignment in Paris, provides fascinating insights of the Paris sittings. An exhibition of the series will be on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from September 9, 2009, through January 10, 2010.
Book News Annotation:
Publication of this volume and the occurrence of the exhibition it represents (J. Paul Getty Museum, September 2009-January 2010), coincide with the eminent photographer's death October 7, 2009, at the age of 92. Some 200 b&w images made in 1950 and 1951, in Paris, London, and New York, depict trades people photographed in the studio, dressed in their work clothes and carrying the tools of their occupations. Penn returned to the images over the decades experimenting with platinum/palladium printing techniques and refining their aesthetic impact. The images are each presented full page in this oversize volume (9.5x12"), along with text by Museum curators Heckert and Lacoste, and an interview with Edmonde Charles-Roux, chief editor for French Vogue, who assisted Penn on the assignment in Paris. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The fascinating life and work of an artist who captured some of the first photographs of the Far East are presented in this gorgeous volume.
In recent years Felice Beato (1832–1909) has come to be recognized as one of the major photographers of the nineteenth century, yet until now there has been no general survey of his singular life and work. Born in Venice, Italy, Beato came of age in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople. As a young apprentice in 1856, he photographed the sites of the Crimean War, thereby launching a long and remarkably adventurous career. Over the next half century he would follow in the wake of the British Empire: Egypt, Palestine, and Syria; India, where he photographed the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny; and China, where he chronicled the Second Opium War. He spent some thirty years in Japan and Burma, where he was among the first commercial photographers at the time that these countries were starting to open to the West.
The text includes an engaging narrative of his life and entrepreneurial career and a thought-provoking essay on Beato and the photography of war. There is a generous selection of his photographs, including panoramas and hand-colored Japanese studies, along with captivating period ephemera, lithographs based on his work, and humorous caricatures of the artist.
About the Author
Virginia A. Heckert and Anne Lacoste are associate curator and assistant curator, respectively, in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
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