But is “photographism” even a word? Not entirely. It is, though, a term that was coined by the photographer [Irving Penn]. It isn’t a theory, but an idea supported by sketches, notes, photographs and posters.
“It was never clearly defined what he meant by Photographism… I like to think of it as Penn’s visual signature, the flavor of his work, his aesthetic. He wasn’t one to speak at length about his work, in terms of trying to describe it. He let the work speak for itself.”
(Vasilios Zatse, deputy director of the Irving Penn Foundation)
Penn died in 2009 at 92, remembered as one of the first photographers to blur the lines between commercial photography and high art.
(Nadja Sayej, “’His pictures are timeless’: celebrating the work of Irving Penn,” theguardian.com, 1-21-21)
(c) 2021 JMN