We have just returned from the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition of Irving Penn’s portraits. Truly extraordinary and exquisite photographs that I am so glad to have seen up close.
I had become more familiar with his work through Alex Craig, a friend and photographer who was inspired by Penn when we were shooting for the 2007 Company B Season book. Alex wanted to pay homage to Penn’s use of the contained space, as seen in the full-length portraits of people such as Truman Capote in the 1940s. The portraits below are of Catherine McClements for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Richard Roxburgh for Toy Symphony.
One of Irving Penn’s portraits I really liked was that of Saul Steinberg (below), such a perfect way to shoot such an irreverent cartoonist. Another person who loves this portrait is illustrator Wayne Pate who has drawn his own version of the portrait in lieu of being able to afford the some $20-30,000 required to buy a print of the actual photograph.
IRVING PENN: Saul Steinberg in nose mask, New York, September 30, 1966.
I love Steinberg’s work, especially ones such as this: