Quotes by Irving Penn

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Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is the one they would like to show to the world... Every so often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe. more...

I can get obsessed by anything if I look at it long enough. That's the curse of being a photographer. more...

Many photographers feel their client is the subject. My client is a woman in Kansas who reads Vogue. I'm trying to intrigue, stimulate, feed her. My responsibility is to the reader. The severe portrait that is not the greatest joy in the world to the subject may be enormously interesting to the reader. more...

Photographing a cake can be art. more...

I am a professional photographer because it is the best way I know to earn the money I require to take care of my wife and children. more...

I feed on art more than I ever do on photographs. I can admire photography, but I wouldn't go to it out of hunger. more...

What I really try to do is photograph people at rest, in a state of serenity. more...

Using simple equipment and daylight alone is for me a pleasure and a replenishment. more...

I've tried a few times to depart from what I know I can do, and I've failed. I've tried to work outside the studio, but it introduces too many variables that I can't control. I'm really quite narrow, you know. more...

The severe portrait that is not the greatest joy in the world to the subject may be enormously interesting to the reader. more...

I have always stood in awe of the camera. I recognize it for the instrument it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel. more...

Liberman said to me, 'I must cut back on the work you do for Vogue. The editors don't like it. They say the photographs burn on the page . After some years, I began to understand that what they wanted of me was simply a nice, sweet, clean-looking image of a lovely young woman. more...

A beautiful print is a thing in itself, not just a halfway house on the way to the page. more...

Over the years I must have spent thousands of hours silently brushing on the liquid coatings, preparing each sheet in anticipation of reaching the perfect print. more...

I always thought we were selling dreams, not clothes more...

Working on photography is working on oneself. more...

A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective. more...

Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show the world very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe. more...

Most of the time the ones who dislike the pictures the most confirm to me that the picture has hit home and is probably truer than I know. Nobody minds a boring picture, they mind a picture that has gotten to the soft core. more...

I myself have always stood in the awe of the camera. I recognize it for the instrument it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel. more...

In portrait photography there is something more profound that we seek inside a person, while being painfully aware that a limitation of our medium is that the inside is recordable only insofar as it is apparent on the outside...Very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe. more...

I share with many people the feeling that there is a sweetness and constancy to light that falls into a studio from the north sky that sets it beyond any other illumination. It is a light of such penetrating clarity that even a simple object lying by chance in such a light takes on an inner glow, almost a voluptuousness. more...

Sometime in 1964 I realized that I was a victim of a printmaking obsession, a condition that persists today. more...

The printed page seems to have come to something of a dead end for all of us. more...


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