There is a review in The Los Angeles Times of an exhibition showing this fall at the Getty Museum there. You can find a slide show here containing some of the images on display. The exhibition is of a series of portraits, taken by Irving Penn of working class men and women in Paris, London and New York during the 1950s.
The reviewer, Christopher Knight, concludes with an astute observation:
"But Penn's great skill is not in peeling away outer layers to show us the person hidden within. After all he's a fashion photographer par excellence. His workers model. Emphasizing aesthetics within ordinariness, their surfaces thrum with meaning."I think, however, that this characteristic of Penn's photographs is not tied just to fashion photography but to the the limits and immense usefulness of the technology itself. What photography shows simply are surfaces. And that highlights a question that I think is important ~ whether there is any 'reality' to be discerned beyond the 'appearances.'
Labels: Irving Penn