A document of Irving Penn's career
Title: Irving Penn – Small Trades
Review: Released to coincide with his London show, Irving Penn’s Small Trades is only the more poignant due to his passing in October of this year at the age of 92 – a month after erecting his show in London’s J. Paul Getty Museum, which continues until January 2010.
The book is a study of tradesmen and women from the 1950s, initially shot in between Penn’s fashion shoots for French Vogue in Paris, then later in London and New York over a period of two years. The shifting between workers and fashion models is said to have invigorated Penn’s work, and this book is a particularly interesting study of the cultural and subtle differences between the three host cities’ occupants. A delve back into the past, the images have a timely nature about them that now, almost 60 years later, becomes of significant interest. Whilst the linear narrative doesn’t waive throughout the 259 images, each character has a particular quality about them that demands attention.
An introductory essay and interview precede the images, and the prints can be viewed in situ in London’s J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as Paris and New York galleries – an initially unbeknown tribute at the time of planning that’s very much a fitting send off for one of photography’s celebrated greats. What Digital Camera Score: 89%