Ryan Henwood-White


#FocusThursday - Irving Penn

"Irving Penn (June 16, 1917 – October 7, 2009) was an American photographer known for his fashion photography, portraits, and still lifes. Penn's career included work at Vogue magazine, and independent advertising work for clients including Issey Miyake and Clinique. His work has been exhibited internationally and continues to inform the art of photography." - Wikipedia

Irving Penn is a photography icon and a huge inspiration for my own portraiture. His use of lighting, posture and contrast inform my photography to a large degree. I really enjoy the way he made subjects pose in ways that sometimes were unnatural, and seemed to put them off balance, off guard.. somehow defused their bubble and connected with them in a way that injected himself into the photographs. His use of side lighting often achieved a hard contrast across the face, which is a technique that I carry over to my own work. The sharp black line across one side of the subject's face creates mystery and drama. It creates depth, revealing only part of the person. I find it aesthetically pleasing and distinct. I like my photographs to be a glimpse of a person, a glimpse of reality.. hinting at what is there without revealing the whole secret. Irving Penn mastered this feeling.