Irving Penn’s “Small Trades” in Paris

With the exhibition “Les Petits Metiers” at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson Irving Penn’s photographs come back to the city where the legendary series began. Penn started his “Small Trades”  photographs while on assignment with Vogue France in 1950. The magazine rented a sixth floor walk up studio for Penn with natural light on rue Vaugirard where in addition to doing his fashion shooting that season he brought Parisian tradesmen to pose before his trademark neutral backdrop.  He later continued the project in London and New York. The exhibition includes approximately one hundred photographs, Penn books and a copy of French Vogue Magazine where the pictures first appeared.

Irving Penn (1917-2009) known for portraits, fashion and unusual still life pictures worked with Vogue for over six decades. The “Small Trades” series,  produced between 1950 and 1951, portrays various trades people dressed in their work clothes with the tools of their respective trades-milkman, seamstress, plumber, etc. It is considered Penn’s most extensive body of work. The exhibition includes both vintage gelatin silver prints and his later platinum/palladium prints. The “Small Trades” photographs were acquired by the Los Angeles J. Paul Getty Museum in 2008 where they were recently exhibited just before coming to Paris.

“Les Petits Metiers” to July 25, 2010 at Fondation HCB,  2, impasse Lebouis, 75014 Paris