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Irving Penn
This image, by Irvine Penn, was taken in 1999, named Vogue.
Already a concept of a dispassionate and medical s...
Irving Penn
The theme in this image is, again, food. And again, the food has been
prepared against the common conventions ...
Irving Penn
This picture is part of a larger collection named ‘Findings’. The subjects
that can be seen are, quite literal...
Irving Penn
This photograph is also part of the collection ‘Findings’, this time
showing scattered cigarette ends, a tangl...
Irving Penn
This photograph was one of the last images from the collection
‘Findings’, with a sub-title of 1948. Despite b...
Irving Penn
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Irving Penn

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Irving Penn

  1. 1. Irving Penn This image, by Irvine Penn, was taken in 1999, named Vogue. Already a concept of a dispassionate and medical situation can be taken from the use of white, rubber gloves with a white table, and the use of force that can be seen in the way the this lobster claw is held with a hammer being brought down on it. I find this image interesting as it shows a food that is often thought as luxurious, being handled aggressively, as though this is what it takes to make such expensive and lush food. The hammer that was chosen as the prop is very worn and completely out of place from what is expected in this clinical environment. This creative decision may have been made to portray how even fist class food is prepared in very low quality, unhygienic conditions – disgusting the consumer if they knew. When looked at this way, an idea could be taken that shows that all people are the same, despite the differences on the outside.
  2. 2. Irving Penn The theme in this image is, again, food. And again, the food has been prepared against the common conventions of looking appetising, but instead to appear disgusting, but in such a set up that would interest the viewer long enough to notice the smaller details. Details, such as the ant, for example. Ants are known to be attracted to sweet things, yet, as an insect, they are also regarded with distaste. Here it can be seen sitting atop of a pastry that is overflowing with some representation of rotten custard, pouring out from were a slice has been cut. But instead, it makes it’s way to the pear that lays on top of the pastry. Another small, strange detail that can be seen is that the pear is red, and uncommon colour for the fruit – making it more eye catching than the main dessert. I believe the message being told through this image is that, despite the amount of additives and time that goes into shop bought desserts, sometimes the more simple and healthier food still comes out the sweetest. And in this photograph, the ant knows this.
  3. 3. Irving Penn This picture is part of a larger collection named ‘Findings’. The subjects that can be seen are, quite literally, things that have been picked up off of the street. From this we already know that everything photographed, in this collection, are the used, the not needed, or the unwanted. Here is a shot of apples that are too deformed or old to ever be sold in a supermarket. Instead they were probably thrown away whilst the rest of the better produce was shipped off. The overhead angle of this image makes the viewer feel as though they are looking down at these apples, as though this unwanted food is below them. I feel that taking the image in this way has a very dynamic effect of how the viewer observes it, it’s almost as if they themselves have came across these ‘findings’. The way the apples have been arranged is, also, very clever, as all of them are touching at least one other apple – creating an atmosphere of cramped and clustered disarray. This contradicts dramatically with the set up of the food coming together to create a square – a formation they would never be found in naturally.
  4. 4. Irving Penn This photograph is also part of the collection ‘Findings’, this time showing scattered cigarette ends, a tangle of hair, and what looks to be a crumpled dollar bill. The lighting of this image is a very warm shade, collaborating well with the browns and yellows of the cigarettes. The corners of the image are slightly shaded, making it seem as though there was a spotlight hovering over the subject. The viewers will feel very engaged with the subjects because the photo was so taken close – up, making it seem almost confrontational, as though whoever has littered with cigarette ends are meant to feel guilty when looking at this image. By doing this, the mood of the image is almost accusatory and suspicious. Because a white background was chosen when setting up this picture, the smallest details are able to be seen. Details such as the speckles of dirt and, perhaps, ash that are amongst everything else – enhancing the effect of a unhygienic and filthy atmosphere.
  5. 5. Irving Penn This photograph was one of the last images from the collection ‘Findings’, with a sub-title of 1948. Despite being a part of Penn’s still life works, I feel as though it has certain documentary styled qualities. This is mostly because of the close-up range it has, and how it can appear plain yet interesting at the same time. The use of the rule of thirds has allowed this image to come over as more diverse, giving the viewers a better chance to observe the shadow created by the plate, whilst still being able to see that the plate is practically bare. The lighting is perfectly situated to create this shadow, and also the shadow of the left over food on the plate. By having it at angle like this, the light is reflected adequately off of the fish scales, and brings out the amber of the eye without causing it to appear as though it is looking right at the views. By doing this it gives off a mood of definite and death, without making people feel sympathetic. I believe that by doing this the artist is trying to give over the message of living without waste, and how sad – but necessary – it is.

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