April 15, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Irving Penn: Master Images

Current Status
In Season
Merry A. Foresta, William F. Stapp
Coffee Table, Biography
We gave it an A

From the Duchess of Windsor to the Hell’s Angels; from Jessye Norman to the Grateful Dead; from models evoking Dior’s ”New Look” to a New Guinean Enga tribeswoman, nothing comes between Irving Penn’s subjects and those who view them. Despite his origins in fashion as a photographer for Vogue, Penn was a practitioner-and pioneer-of stripped-down images that depended more on expression and pose than fancy props or costumes. In Irving Penn: Master Images, he framed his subjects in plain backgrounds and simply allowed them to be who they were. There’s more to it than that: His subjects’ piercing stares ask us the question: Who are we? A -EK

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