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Irving Penn
Irving Penn

Irving Penn

Country: United States
Birth: 1917 | Death: 2009

Irving Penn was born on June 16, 1917 in Plainfield, New Jersey, to Harry Penn and Sonia Greenberg. In 1922, Irving Penn's younger brother, Arthur Penn, was born, who would go on to become a film director and producer.

Irving Penn attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art (now the University of the Arts) from 1934 to 1938, where he studied drawing, painting, graphics, and industrial arts under Alexey Brodovitch. While still a student, Penn worked under Brodovitch at Harper's Bazaar, where several of Penn's drawings were published.

Irving Penn worked for two years as a freelance designer and making his first amateur photographs before taking Brodovitch's position as the art director at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1940. Penn remained at Saks Fifth Avenue for a year before leaving to spend a year painting and taking photographs in Mexico and across the US.

When Irving Penn returned to New York, Alexander Liberman offered him a position as an associate in the Vogue magazine Art Department, where Penn worked on layout before Liberman asked him to try his hand at photography for the magazine. Irving Penn photographed his first cover for Vogue magazine in 1943 and continued to work at the magazine throughout his career, shooting covers, portraits, still lifes, fashion, and photographic essays.

In the 1950s, Penn founded his own studio in New York and began making advertising photographs. Over the years, Penn's list of clients grew to include General Foods, De Beers, Issey Miyake, and Clinique.

Irving Penn met fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives at a photo shoot in 1947. In 1950, the two married at Chelsea Register Office, and two years later Lisa gave birth to their son, Tom Penn, who would go on to become a metal designer. Lisa Fonssagrives died in 1992.

Irving Penn died aged 92 on October 7, 2009 at his home in Manhattan.

Source: Wikipedia

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Michael Kenna
United Kingdom
1953
Michael Kenna was born in Widnes, England in 1953. As one of 6 children born to a working class Irish-Catholic family, he initially aspired to enter the priesthood but his passion for the arts led him to The Banbury School of Art where he studied painting and then photography. Later he attended The London College of Printing and began working as a photographer and artist. He moved to San Francisco in 1977 where he was astounded by the number of galleries the city housed which allowed artists to showcase and sell their work. San Francisco has remained his home ever since. Michael Kenna's work has often been described as enigmatic, graceful and hauntingly beautiful much like the Japanese landscape. Kenna first visited Japan in 1987 for a one-person exhibition and was utterly seduced by the country's terrain. Over the years he has traveled throughout almost the entire country constantly taking photographs. From these many treks the book Japan, featuring 95 of these photographs, was conceived. The simplicity and clarity of Kenna's Japan alludes to rather than describes his subject allowing the viewer to have a completely unique and tailored interpretation. He has described this body of work as, "more like a haiku rather than a prose"; his work being like photographs written in short poem form. Kenna's photographs are often made at dawn or in the dark hours of night with exposures up to 10 hours. Kenna has said "you can't always see what's otherwise noticeable during the day... with long exposures you can photograph what the human eye is incapable of seeing". Michael Kenna's prints have been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the world with permanent collections in the Bibliotheque, Paris; The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague; The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Kenna has also done a great deal of commercial work for such clients as Volvo, Rolls Royce, Audi, Sprint, Dom Perignon and The Spanish Tourist Board. Japan is one of 18 books of Kenna's photography to have been published to date. Source: Supervision With more than fifty monographs documenting his travels, Michael Kenna shows no signs of slowing down in his endless pursuit of nature's haunting beauty. Whether working in his native England, Easter Island, the coastal towns of France or the islands in Japan, Kenna seeks places of solitude which speak volumes about humanity. Barren seascapes, abandoned fishing nets, fragmented piers, mysterious horizons, trees emerging from under snow drifts – these are just some of the images which dominate Michael Kenna's work from Japan. The result of his efforts can be seen in two books, Hokkaido (2006) and Japan (2002), both published by Nazraeli Press. His newest book, Mont St Michel, continues his passion for solace. Originally built as a community for Benedictine monks, Mont St Michel became a place of prayer, meditation and silence. Kenna made may journeys to Mont St Michel, staying for days at a time, living among the residents, following their codes of silence and prayer. Armed with a camera, Kenna walked the halls, crypts and towers, watching shadows sneak their way around columns and spires, recording the passing of time. Mont St Michel is dedicated to Michael's father who recently passed away. As Kenna states in his introduction: "My dad was a quiet man, he didn't seem to have a need to talk very much...We walked pretty much everywhere, and I liked to walk with my Dad...I think the time in-between destinations was most special for me. We didn't need to say very much to each other. Walking, observing, listening, waiting. Somehow I associate those walks with my time at Mont St Michel...He taught me that it's alright to walk alone sometimes." Whether photographing in Mont St Michel, Japan, China, or the United States, Michael Kenna invites the viewer to walk along with him as he captures moments between events, when human presence seems right around the corner and silence is always present... Source: Catherine Edelman Gallery
Jeff Wall
Canada
1946
Jeffrey "Jeff" Wall, OC, RSA is a Canadian artist best known for his large-scale back-lit Cibachrome photographs and art history writing. Wall has been a key figure in Vancouver's art scene since the early-1970s. Early in his career, he helped define the Vancouver School and he has published essays on the work of his colleagues and fellow Vancouverites Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, and Ian Wallace. His photographic tableaux often take Vancouver's mixture of natural beauty, urban decay, and postmodern and industrial featurelessness as their backdrop. Wall received his MA from the University of British Columbia in 1970, with a thesis titled, Berlin Dada and the Notion of Context. That same year, Wall stopped making art. With his wife, Jeannette, a native of England whom he had met as a student in Vancouver, and their two young sons, he moved to London to do postgraduate work at the Courtauld Institute from 1970-73, where he studied with Manet expert T.J. Clark. Wall was an assistant professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1974-75), associate professor at Simon Fraser University (1976-87), taught for many years at the University of British Columbia and lectured at European Graduate School. He has published essays on Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Roy Arden, Ken Lum, Stephan Balkenhol, On Kawara, and other contemporary artists. In 2002, Wall was awarded the Hasselblad Award. In 2006, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Jeff Wall was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2007. In March 2008, Wall was awarded the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement, British Columbia's annual award for the visual arts.Source: Wikipedia Jeff Wall was born in Vancouver in 1946. Attentive to the accidental encounters that can inspire an image, he recreates flashes of inspiration obtained from sources as varied as personal recollections to something noticed on the street, to daydreams, and encounters with paintings or photographs. With an idea in mind, Wall goes to exacting lengths to produce the picture, which may include constructing a scene from scratch, factoring in the position of the sun over several weeks, and improvisational rehearsals with performers. Wall’s pictures include both fantastical scenes—a picnic with vampires, dead troops conversing, a grave flooded by the ocean—and vernacular images of people on the margins of society or in moments of exchange and quiet contemplation. Orchestrating his compositions with the creative liberties that a painter would take, the curious magic and discipline of Wall’s work is that it all takes place in a state of photographic realism where every action, object, and condition is simultaneously artificial and entirely natural. Often printed on the grand scale of a history painting - exhibited either as backlit lightboxes akin to advertising displays or as crisp inkjet and silver gelatin prints - Wall’s works reveal their poetic potential through portraying empathetic characters, picturing impossible vantage points, and capturing elusive moments.Source: Art21 Wall has said, "The only way to continue in the spirit of the avant-garde is to experiment with your relation to tradition" (Artnews, Nov. 1995, p.222). In 1977, during a visit to the Prado in Madrid, he was moved by the paintings of Velázquez and Goya. He felt that, due to what he saw as the dominance of photography and film, it was no longer possible for modern artists to paint like the great masters. Seeking a new method to represent everyday life pictorially, Wall found a suitable medium in advertising hoarding lightboxes, and made his first backlit transparencies in 1978. Early works, such as The Thinker (1986) based on Rodin's sculpture of that name, referred directly to great works in the history of art. Recently, he has more actively explored the literary and filmic aspects of his art. The majority of his pieces are set in Vancouver and contain references to art, the media, and socio-economic problems.Source: Tate
Gabriel Isak
Sweden
1990
Gabriel Isak was born in 1990 in Huskvarna, Sweden. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Isak has exhibited his work at solo exhibitions at The Cannery Gallery, San Francisco, California and his works have been included in various important exhibitions including "Acclimatize" at Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden and "Culture Pop" at M Contemporary, Sydney, Australia. Isak lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden, from where he travels all around the world for personal and commissioned projects. Artist Statement Gabriel Isak's art entails surreal and melancholic scenes where he invites the viewer to interact with the inner world of solitary figures that symbolize our own unconscious states. He uses photography as a medium to draw and paint surreal images, minimal and graphic in its aesthetic, rich in symbolism and emotion, focusing on themes inspired by human psychology, dreams and romanticism, as well as his own experiences, especially the years he went through depression. Isak's work is a serene and melancholic meditation that stills the chaos of life and transforms into an introspective journey that questions the depths of existence. The objective of Gabriel Isak's art is to shine a light on the experiences of being and the states of mind those brings along. His subjects are anonymous, imprisoned in monochromatic settings, so the viewer can envision oneself as the subject, reflecting back on one's own experiences and journey in life.
Frederick Sommer
United States
1905 | † 1999
Frederick Sommer (September 7, 1905 – January 23, 1999), was an artist born in Angri, Italy and raised in Brazil. He earned a M.A. degree in Landscape Architecture (1927) from Cornell University where he met Frances Elizabeth Watson (September 20, 1904 – April 10, 1999) whom he married in 1928; they had no children. The Sommers moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1931 and then Prescott, Arizona in 1935. Sommer became a naturalized citizen of the United States on November 18, 1939. Considered a master photographer, Sommer first experimented with photography in 1931 after being diagnosed with tuberculosis the year prior. Early works on paper (starting in 1931) include watercolors, and evolve to pen-and-ink or brush plus drawings of visually composed musical score. 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His archive (of negatives and correspondence) was part of founding the Center for Creative Photography in 1975 along with Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan, Wynn Bullock, and Aaron Siskind. He taught briefly at Prescott College during the late 60s and substituted for Harry Callahan at IIT Institute of Design in 1957–1958 and later at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1934, Frederick Sommer visited Los Angeles. Walking through the art museum one day, he noticed a display of musical scores. He saw them not as music, but as graphics, and found in them an elegance and grace that led him to a careful study of scores and notation. He found that the best music was visually more effective and attractive. He assumed that there was a correlation between music as we hear it and its notation; and he wondered if drawings that used notational motifs and elements could be played. He made his first “drawings in the manner of musical scores” that year. (After reviewing this text, Fred asked that the author refer to his scores “only” in this way. When the author suggested that it was perhaps too long to be repeated throughout the text, he laughed and said, “Well, use it at least once.”) Although people knew of his scores, and occasionally brought musicians to his house to play them, no one ever stayed with it for long. In 1967, both Walton Mendelson and Stephen Aldrich attended Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona, where Sommer was on the faculty. They barely knew of his reputation as a photographer, and nothing of the scores. Towards the end of September he invited them to his house for dinner, but they were to come early, and Mendelson was to bring my flute. “Can you play that?” he asked, as they looked at one of the scores, framed, and sitting atop his piano. With no guidance from him, they tried. Nervous and unsure of what they were getting into, they stopped midway through. Mendelson asked Aldrich where he was in the score: he pointed to where Mendelson had stopped. They knew then, mysterious though the scores were, they could be played. On May 9, 1968, the first public performance of the music of Frederick Sommer was given at Prescott College. Sommer had no musical training. He didn't know one note from another on his piano, nor could he read music. His record collection was surprisingly broad for that time, and his familiarity with it was thorough. What surprised Mendelson and Aldrich when they first met him were his visual skills: he could identify many specific pieces and almost any major composer by looking at the shapes of the notation on a page of printed music. Of Sommer's known works, his drawings, glue-color on paper, photographs, and writings, it is only these scores that have been a part of his creative life throughout the entirety of his artistic career. He was still drawing elegant scores in 1997. And like his skip reading, they are the closest insight to his creative process, thinking and aesthetic. Bruce Silverstein Gallery is the New York representative of the Frederick & Frances Sommer Foundation.Source: Wikipedia Frederick Sommer was an artistic polymath, with deep interests in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and collage. With his work he intended to engage the world formally, to harvest its chance gifts, decontextualizing and rearranging found images and objects according to often shocking visual affinities. The artist played with a wide variety of forms, textures and scale to create startling compositions amid objects and sites others found too insignificant to notice. Sommer was intent on expanding the limits of where beauty could be found, and after viewing a display of original musical scores, he began to formulate his own theories correlating the graphic design to the sound of musical scores. Alongside many great artists of the period including Edward Weston, Max Ernst, Man Ray and Aaron Siskind, Sommer created a unique and avant-garde body of work formulated from his interest in Surrealism. His works have been exhibited by the world’s most important institutions, including the George Eastman House, Rochester; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Delaware Art Museum; Serpentine Gallery, London; Charles Egan Gallery, New York; Philadelphia College of Art; Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington D.C.; Pasadena Art Museum, California; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Institute of Design, Chicago; Zimmergalerie Franck, Germany; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Work by the artist is represented in major museum collections internationally such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Maison Européenne de la Photographie; George Eastman House, Rochester; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Sommer’s work has been published widely. Noteworthy publications include Frederick Sommer: Photography, Drawing, Collage (2005), The Mistress of the World Has No Name: Where Images Come From (1987), Frederick Sommer at Seventy Five, a Retrospective (1980), and Venus, Jupiter and Mars: The Photographs of Frederick Sommer (1980).Source: Bruce Silverstein Gallery
 Reza
Iran/France
1952
A philanthropist, idealist, humanist, Reza's career began with studies in architecture. He has gone on to become a renowned photojournalist who, for the last three decades, has worked all over the world, notably for National Geographic. His assignments have taken him to over a hundred countries as a witness to humanity's conflicts and catastrophes. His work is featured in the international media (National Geographic, Time Magazine, Stern, Newsweek, El País, Paris Match, Geo...), as well as a series of books, exhibitions and documentaries made for the National Geographic Channel. Along with his work as a photographer, since 1983 Reza has been a volunteer committed to the training of youths and women from conflict-ridden societies in the language of images, to help them strive for a better world. In 2001, he founded Ainaworld in Afghanistan, a new generation NGO which trains populations in information and communications through the development of educational tools and adapted media. While pursuing his reportages for international media outlets, Reza has continued to conduct workshops on the language of images in a variety through his association Reza Visual Academy. He works with refugees, urban youths in Europe and others from disadvantaged backgrounds. After his work, Mémoires d'Exil ("Memories of Exile") shown at the Louvre Carrousel in 1998, he has shared his humanitarian vision through a series of monumental installations: Crossing Destinies, shown on the grilles of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, One World, One Tribe in Washington DC, and the Parc de la Villette in Paris, War + Peace at the Caen Memorial and on the banks of the Garonne in Toulouse, Hope in Doha (Qatar), Windows of the Soul in Corsica, Soul of Coffee, 250 photographic exhibitions throughout the world, including major installations on the banks of the Seine, or at Kew Gardens in London, Land of Tolerance at the UN Headquarters in New York, the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as UNESCO in Paris. In 2014, Azerbaijan: the Elegance of Fire, presented at the Petit Palais revealed a little-known people with an ancestral culture, turned towards modernity. Finally, the giant panorama A Dream of Humanity was featured along the banks of the Seine during the summer of 2015, showing portraits of refugees around the world taken by Reza and photographs taken by refugee children in Iraqi Kurdestan who were trained as "camp reporters" at the workshops organized by Reza Visual Academy. Author of thirty books, and a recipient of many awards over the course of his career, Reza is a Fellow and Explorer of the National Geographic Society, and a Senior Fellow of the Ashoka Foundation. His work has been recognized by World Press Photo; he has also received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, the Lucy Award, an honorary medal from the University of Missouri and the honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the American University of Paris. France has also appointed him a Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.
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