Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Irving Penn - Cuzco Children, Peru, 1948

When I was 11 years old, I used to sign out this massive book out of the school library called Life Magazine's Greatest Pictures. It was dog-earred beyond recognition, weighed about 200 pounds and was just big enough to fit comfortably into the bottom of my vinyl Adidas bag. I took it out on a weekly basis and when I did , it was all I could do to get home, sprawl on my bed and peruse the photos inside.

One of my favorite pictures was a portrait taken by Irving Penn of two children in Peru. I stared at that picture until it was a brain tattoo, etched it into my consciousness to the point where when I saw it again, many years later, I had to remind myself that I hadn't conjured it. It's simplicity was beauty itself.

The man that took this picture, who took some of the most beautiful pictures of the 20th century died today at 92. This image, and many more like, will remain. A testament to ordinary beauty sanctified.

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