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Irving Penn: Centennial Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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My favorite aspect to Penn's work was his meticulous attention to composition. Digital is so fast and inexpensive (since there is no film) that a lot of digital photographers just shoot like crazy and hope they catch a great moment of spontaneity. Penn was the exact opposite. His style was the exact opposite of spontaneity. His compositions were masterfully crafted. Everything in the frame was exactly where Penn wanted it to be. Penn's frame was like a jigsaw puzzle and until every piece was exactly were he wanted it, he didn't shoot. And he was an absolute master of composition. There are very few photographers that could go toe to toe with Penn compositionally speaking. He was a true master of the medium.
Irving Penn was born in 1917 so 2017 marks the 100 year mark from Irving's birth, hence the name Irving Penn: Centennial. I own most of Irving Penn's previous books and there is no question about it, this is the best Irving Penn book released to date. It combines all of the great Penn pieces one would hope would be in a book like this, but best of all, it also has material that has never been published before so for those like me that already own most of Penn's previous books, there is still a legitimate reason for purchasing this book. You will not be purchasing a book that is full of pictures you already had from previous publications.
Bottom line - This book should be considered an absolute must buy by anyone that enjoys Irving Penn's work or anyone that has a serious collection of photography art books. This is also the perfect book for people that aren't familiar with Penn's work as again, this is without question the best Irving Penn book released to date. The choice of pictures gives you a perfect look at his overall style of photography, which remained incredibly consistent all throughout his career. There hasn't been another portrait shooter quite like Penn and I honesty question if there ever will be. A must buy if there ever was one for photography related art books. The fact that this is so reasonably priced just makes it that much more of a no brainer. Given the price you see on a lot of photography related art books, this could have easily been roughly double the current price and nobody would have questioned it. Trust me, put this book at the very top of your to buy list as this is one of the best photography related art books released over the last 5-10 years and that will likely still be true 5-10 years down the road. If or when this book happens to go out of print, you can expect to pay a LOT more than the current price!
5 Stars and then some!!