Kevin Briggs Photography

The Artistic Contributions of Irving Penn

Kevin Briggs

I've always appreciated one thing about Irving Penn above all else. Yet what I have admired most about his work certainly may not have been his foremost intent in producing his art, in going about his beloved daily tasks as a photographer. But to me, it comes across most prominently and most wonderfully: it is the visceral nature of the art he produced.

As I have noted repeatedly about my own work, texture plays a leading role in that work. Therefore, I love the textural aspects — rough, smooth, and everything in between — of much of Irving Penn's work, even though much of that work may seem on its face to be incredibly pedestrian.

I also appreciate that he was someone who was always evolving in his own work and with respect to his craft, as is highlighted in this video. 

He also presented himself as someone who was always true to his own vision.

With all this in mind, I believe those who are genuinely interested in photography will find much to appreciate about what is presented here within this fairly brief presentation. The Dallas Museum of Art ran an exhibition during the summer of 2016 entitled “Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty.” It represented the first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly two decades. Sue Canterbury, the Curator of American Art at the museum, provides a close look at Penn’s work through the perspective of a curator.