Monday, December 27, 2010



He set the trends for photography. Look around everything you see mimics his work.
He knew light, his photographs were so easy to look at ...the light like honey just poured onto the subject like an epicurean delight....mouth watering and eyes in awe of the feeling you feel when viewing an original Irving Penn image. Inspirations are important he is one of mine since age 19
His photographs spoke to me as a younger woman. Duane Michal's, Sally Mann, all natural light shooters. I love chiaroscuro in paintings, Rembrandt, Caravaggio.
The shadow side of the light is what intrigues my way of seeing.
Once I was asked to do an interview about being a lighting master for PDN.
When the writer realized that I preferred natural light to artificial they decided to kill the story!
Go figure....seeing light is an art form in itself.
I feel light, many people do. You can walk into a great cathedral and see rays of light pouring upon the pews and go Wow....this whispers the Spirit to me.
The moonlight reflecting on a calm ocean during the winter can overwhelm you with its presence as a blessing.

When I lived in NYC I had a studio for 8 years in Tribeca. I lived on the top floor of a loft 49 Warren street just down from the Raccoon Lodge. The loft was about 1800sq ft. 14-18 ft ceilings, tin roofed, with north and south windows...three huge ones on each side.
I loved that loft. We could put up three sets in that space at one time. The north light was amazing not unlike the one here pictured that belonged to Irving Penn in Paris.
When I walk into a space I slip into it like a plant leaning toward the light.
I always look for the light.

One day I will build a studio/church space with a huge bank of windows facing North.
Technically you only need a small window about 5x5ft located high up to use for shooting.
Using fill cards and flats white and black are enough for sculpting light.
Less is mantra for lighting.

As for my HERO...once upon a time I found a box that said
"Penn spells Quality"
I found it in Tennesse. Brought it back to NYC and wrote Irving a letter asking him if I could do his portrait. He wrote back and declined with a gift of a book signed and said...
"I belong behind the camera"

Thank you Irving God Rest Your Soul

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