Irving Penn

This art and social documentary photography (mentioned in the last blog post) also occurred in colour. Irving Penn, who shot still life images for Vogue and House and Garden magazine in the 1940’s (Penn, I. 2001) produced images that were art photographs with food as a subject like those in the In Focus: Tasteful Pictures exhibition, showing ingredients, but used to illustrate the lifestyle pages of magazines.
Irving Penn, Salad ingredients, editorial photo for Vogue, 1947.
The placement of the objects seems random, but stylised at the same time. You can see the reflection of the studio lights in the spoons and the image has not been retouched; the random flecks of pepper have been left in even though some have gone astray from the centre of the set up. It was around this time that food images began to be used commercially for the purpose of advertising. Perhaps it is in the form of advertising that the food photography lost its credibility as an art genre, as the images were not being used as a work of art, but to promote goods to consumers.

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