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The three overall winners, chosen by Sandy Nairn, Director of the National Portrait Gallery and Magda Kearny, Curator of the exhibition are Jane Whitfield, Surahbi S Khanna and Lauren Rotenberg. All four will receive a copy of the artbook accompanying the show and a poster worth £20.
‘Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is the one they would like to show the world…Very often what lies behind the façade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.’ These words by Irving Penn at the beginning of the exhibition set the scene for some gritty and candid images.
Each photograph reveals nuances, tensions and body language, a realism not shown by Irving Penn’s contemporaries.
In 1948, for example, violinist Yehudi Menuhin has his back to one panel.
I concluded that Penn had an amazing eye for tones, textures, elegance versus humility and the human condition in a way that sets him aside as a true genius behind the lens.
Finalist number seventeen is Jerome Kiel From the forties to the noughties, Irving Penn used his artistic skills, his vision and unconventional approach to take photographs of an astonishing variety of people from the realms of writing, music, art and drama.
The result is for some, awkward, but for others it is empowering and only serves to prove self-assuredness.
He uses very few props, early images just a corner or carpet thrown over boxes or chairs.
At the end of January, Telephoto invited readers to review the Irving Penn retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery.
We selected 40 applicants, of which twenty have been chosen as finalists, published below.
Another approach emerged in the 70’s and 80’s with some sitters like Arthur Miller being photographed with their eyes closed, Issey Miyake in deep shadow and Woody Allen portraying Charlie Chaplin.
The images in this exhibition are timeless and the subjects entrancing.
The exhibition is stunning, with its useful texts and 110 portraits.