*Truman Capote (Author of Breakfast at Tiffany's), New York, 1948
*Duchess of Windsor, New York, 1948
*Alfred Hitchcock, New York, 1947The 'Irving Penn Portraits' exhibition at National Portrait Gallery (London) now is absolutely lustrous, stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. It shed a light on how photography can transcend to such an art form that no one has imagined before.
Irving Penn (1917–2009) was one of the great photographers of our time. Focusing specifically on his portraits of major cultural figures of the last seven decades, Irving Penn Portraits is a glorious celebration of his work in this genre.
The exhibition is brought together from major international collections and includes over 120 silver and platinum prints, many vintage, ranging from his portraits for Vogue magazine in the 1940s to some of his last work. Penn photographed an extraordinary range of sitters from the worlds of literature, music and the visual and performing arts. Among those featured in the exhibition are Truman Capote, Salvador Dali, Christian Dior, T.S. Eliot, Duke Ellington, Grace Kelly, Rudolf Nureyev, Al Pacino, Edith Piaf, Pablo Picasso and Harold Pinter.
This fascinating survey brings to light the significance of Penn's visual language and provides a rare opportunity to explore his innovative use of composition, light and printing techniques.
I especially enjoyed a rare portrait of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Yves Saint Laurent when he was twenty-one - still hunting down these wonderful images from the internet.
The exhibition will run until 6 June 2010.