“Small Trades” by Irving Penn
mall Trades by Irving Penn is a book purely of photographs. Photographs of regular, blue-collar workers in their work uniforms. Now, all these pictures date back to the early 1950’s but why are they so appropriate now? Because we are in a recession, and most of the people making money are movie stars or CEO’s of a big company. It was nice to see photographs of people that do everyday jobs getting some recognition. Maybe we need to glamorize the guy who takes out the trash, or the waitress who brings us our meal. Maybe we need another Irving Penn.
One thing that should be noted is how all of the people look natural. Almost as if Penn literally had just pulled the police officer off the street, and the showgirl off the stage. No touch-ups. No wardrobe fixes. Just natural; raw.
The same backdrop is used for every picture, yet, each picture is so different. Each photograph has its own personality—its own flare and history. One gets the sense of who each person is and what their life and profession is like. The way Penn turned ordinary people that one might see on the street into a work of art… Well, that’s a true artist.
I highly recommend giving this book a look. After reading it, I felt better—good inside. And I think you will, too.