Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mr Irving Penn

Can I share my Irving Penn story .......... First I say this with all respect for Mr Penn and his amazing contribution to Photography and imagery. Also as most of you know I'm not the greatest writer... hello I'm a photographer I look at the pretty pictures:-)

When I moved to New York, my friend worked at Clinique and started giving me some test assignment to help me pay the bills and get adjusted to life in Manhattan.

She had an idea for a new ad campaign, to enlarge make up smears and make them look like modern art, Very simple ,Very Graphic.

We shot them together in my apartment in the village until 3 am. I have funny pics of us, as we shot the messy make up blobs. Anyway, I handed over the final film, she scanned and mocked up advertising comps for a presentation and it was a HUGE success! They looked so cool, especially at that time because all the cosmetic company still life ads were the bottles and containers and not nearly so creative to include the actual product.
She informed me at the beginning and I knew the finals would be shot by Mr Penn because he was under contract with Clinique. I was so excited to shoot the test and be that closely tide to Mr Penn, who's work I had admired and respected since .....14 yrs.. old.

Well , I walked into the Clinique's office a month or so later to have lunch with my friend, everything there was crazy and everyone tense. I remember the Creative Director smiling at me as he shut his door yelling into the phone" I don't care that he doesn't do reshoots, He will reshoot them or we will be forced break our contract and run what we have"

Over lunch I was given the story, that Mr Penn shot the campaign. The presentation was received with very little enthusiasm from the board of directors. I was told they asked what had happened to original shoots?

So, my friend said it was the worst days she had at work (up to that point ) when Mr Penn agreed to reshoot the images. She had to bring my photos, which were blown up to 16x20 and hang them on his studio walls to copy!
I was blown away. I still feel very privileged and honored that Mr Penn knew my work ...... even if he probably hated me for it.

So much of his Photography has influenced me ... the frozen peas, the tulips, the cigarette images, the shot through the screen, the V wall portraits and the earthly bodies series. I think what I respected the most is that he was a photographer, whether that be still life, fashion, food or portrait. He embodied, to me that a great and true photographer was not the object in front of the camera but the light, crop and energy that surrounded it.

Thank you for portraying and leaving us your perspective of the world and your time with it
with my respect
Rest in peace


Darlene Dull said...

Great story Reed! Thanks for sharing you are a star!

patrice said...

one of a kind...