Publications


 

A NOTEBOOK AT RANDOM

This untraditional monograph offers an intimate perspective into Penn's way of seeing the world, tracing connections and inspirations across his professional assignments, printing, and paintings. Interested in presenting a fresh angle on his work across different times, genres, and media, Penn assembled a dynamic and diverse group of images that enter into dialogue with one another across the pages.

Published by Bulfinch Press, New York, 2004
125 pages, 9 x 12 in.
137 color and tritone illustrations
ISBN: 0821261924
Hardcover

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STILL LIFE: IRVING PENN PHOTOGRAPHS, 1938–2000

This book gathers Penn's work in the still life genre, so central to his art, from 1938 until 2001. It opens with an introduction by John Szarkowski, who places Penn within the larger context of artists working in still life. Penn oversaw the design and production.

Published by Bulfinch Press, Boston, 2001
144 pages, 10 1/4 in x 11 in.
98 color, duotone, and tritone illustrations
ISBN: 0821227025
Hardcover

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THE ASTRONOMERS PLAN A VOYAGE TO EARTH

Penn's second book published under the Apparition imprint paired a set of early drawings, made between 1939–42, with a whimsical philosophical tale written in 1997. It describes the quest of cylindrical astronomers eager to undertake a journey to earth, the skepticism raised by their plans, and their earnest and tenacious preparations for a leap into the unknown.

Published by Apparition, New York, 1999
36 pages, 10 1/2 in x 12 3/8 in.
21 duotone illustrations
ISBN: 0966548019
Hardcover

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DRAWINGS

Under his own imprint, titled Apparition, Penn published this book gathering sixty years of private drawings and paintings, many of which were made using methods influenced by photography. Although this cross-fertilization was central to all his work, he also valued "drawing [as] a haven from the real world that belongs to the camera." An inventory of his paintings and drawings prepared to make the selection for the book listed close to one thousand works.

Published by Apparition, New York, 1999
128 pages, 10 1/4 in x 11 in.
60 color illustrations
ISBN: 0966548000
Hardcover

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PASSAGE: A WORK RECORD

This major chronological overview of Penn's career across half a century is structured as a visual memoir. Following an introduction by Alexander Liberman, who knew and worked with Penn throughout the entire period, the book presents a selection of photographs from each year, interspersed with commentary by Penn. This structure highlights the remarkable range of work that Penn pursued simultaneously—what he described as a "balanced diet" that he valued for its stimulating effects. The book also features a chronological index to his portrait subjects compiled by Alexandra Arrowsmith.

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1991
300 pages, 10 1/2 in x 12 3/8 in.
468 quadtone and color illustrations
ISBN: 0679404910
Hardcover

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FLOWERS

This book is a selection of photographs Penn made for Vogue Christmas issues between 1967 and 1973, of seven different flower varieties: poppies, tulips, roses, lilies, peonies, orchids, and begonias. Penn's sensitivity and eye for form is apparent in these detailed, close-up images which bring the flowers to life, even when he captures them as "they have already begun spotting and browning and twisting on their way back to the earth." Due to the costs of printing in color, it took almost ten years for Penn to be able to find a publisher for this book.

Published by Harmony Books, New York, 1980
95 pages, 10 x 10 in.
75 color illustrations
ISBN: 0517540746
Hardcover

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INVENTIVE PARIS CLOTHES, 1909-1939: A PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY BY IRVING PENN

In 1973–74, former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland organized The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes, 1909-1939, an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. It showcased the flourishing of French fashion in the early twentieth century through the extravagant and revolutionary designs by Poiret, Vionnet, Callot, Molyneux, Paquin, Chanel, Schiaparelli, and Alix. In the foreword, Penn describes his enthrallment with the remarkable craftsmanship: examining them, he "felt a thrill [he] had not known as a fashion photographer known before." In particular, he felt they offered a stark contrast to the fashions of the 1970s, which did not hold up to being photographed in close-up. The designs were photographed on "uncomplaining plastic dummies" in an unused gallery at the museum where Penn improvised a studio.

Published by Viking Press, New York, 1977
95 pages, 10 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.
75 duotone illustrations
ISBN: 067040067X
Hardcover

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WORLDS IN A SMALL ROOM

Penn's second book, entirely in black and white, focuses on his work as an "ambulant studio photographer," photographing people around the world over twenty years. Beginning with his trip to Cuzco in 1948, where he rented a daylight studio, it follows his experiences adapting existing spaces into studios with Northern exposure on location in Crete, Spain, and San Francisco. These efforts to control the conditions of the environment led him to construct a custom-built traveling tent studio. He took the tent on five trips from 1967 to 1971: to Dahomey, Nepal, Cameroon, New Guinea, and Morocco. Penn first imagined this book as a "love letter" to the Rolleiflex camera, which he used for all these photographs and felt particular gratitude to in his portrait work, since it allowed him to interact and connect with the sitters as he worked. Recently discovered Super-8 footage taken in Morocco by his wife Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn shows Penn at work in the tent.

Published by Grossman Publishers, New York, 1974
95 pages, 10 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.
76 duotone illustrations
ISBN: 670790257
Hardcover

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MOMENTS PRESERVED: EIGHT ESSAYS IN PHOTOGRAPHS AND WORDS

Penn's first book is a collection of photographs in color and black and white, taken on assignment for Vogue during his first seventeen years of work for the magazine. There are portraits, still life, fashion, Small Trades, and travel photographs from France, England, Italy, Spain, Peru, and Morocco. The cover image, Seine Rowboat, is crossed by streaks of color that appeared from a scratch in the negative, an accident that delighted Penn. Following an introduction by Alexander Liberman, the work is grouped in eight chapters with captions and commentary. In addition to showcasing Penn's talent with the camera across multiple genres, the book offers precious insight into the place of Vogue magazine at mid-century and the remarkable encounters orchestrated on its pages.

Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1960
183 pages, 9 1/4 x 12 3/4 in.
300 gravure and offset reproductions
Hardcover with slipcase

Editions in five languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Danish.

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