Archival Material: Irving Penn Portraiture Essay

"In speaking of portraiture" essay, n.d., in notebook A12 titled "Irving Penn", n.d. (Box 185.8)


I will I think at this point risk a few generalizations about photographing people in the arts – at one extreme I would put painters and sculptors least of all aware or concerned about their image as it will appear on the printed page, next I would put writers much more difficult, often suspicious of my intentions, sometimes surprisingly hostile, reassured only by the word, not at all aware of the plastic process. At the other pole I am afraid I must put musicians. I think that I can speak after many experiences through a number of years with only the rarest exceptions I am afraid that the perceptive genius of musicians has been limited to their music, and sitting with musicians have generally been barren experiences, often ending awkwardly, followed sometimes by rage and recriminations. I think there is something in the hothouse handling of musicians by the people in their world that makes them think of photographers as part of their public-relations apparatus, preparing them for appearance before their public, aides only in projecting their image of themselves *