|Photo by Irving Penn, New York
VOGUE, 1 April 1950
Irving Penn transformed fashion in the decade after 1945 with images that were charged with a glamour and appeal hitherto reserved for Hollywood; soon he was in demand to capture on film the world’s most famous people, setting standards in the process to which photographers still aspire.
Penn stripped fashion photography of its clutter. Where Cecil Beaton and Henry Clarke had depended on props and elaborate tableaux, Penn was austere. He shot against a plain backdrop, his studio lit by bare northern or electric light. The only visual relief were the lumps in the carpet. Yet the deliberate lack of detail concentrated the eye on what for him was central, the relation between model and clothes.