Before photography was considered a medium of personal art, it was used for the sole purpose of portraiture. Carte de visites, daguerreotypes, and even tintypes were all used as a way to convey a person’s physical appearance into a print. As camera technology evolved, so to did the way photographers take portraits. It skipped from a stale faced man behind a backdrop to colorful and interesting photographs taken of people from all walks of life. Three of the innovators of modern portraiture are Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn and Diane Arbus. These photographers changed the public appearance or ordinary people and celebities while integrating their own original ideas. Irving Penn was born in New Jersey in 1917, he went to school to…show more content… The style of his portraits adds to and even sometimes surpasses the fashion shown. While Penn shot for vogue, he also strayed away from fashion some of the time to focus on influential figures with the same style of the fashion portraits he took in the past. A series of his that is very influential is his corner portraits from the late 1940s, where he took portraits of different individuals all standing in a very claustrophobic corner, almost making them seem less important than their influence states. Some examples of this include portraits of Marchel Duchamp and Georgie O’Keeffe:
Two very prominent painters are photographed cut off from the work of art, seemingly stuck in a gray walled room with no artistic fervor anywhere to be seen. The photographs are bleak, but offer a sense of distance from the audience, enough to show these famous individuals as humans. Penn creates beauty through humanity, with or without the help of fashion his portraits convey truly an unhinged reality of fashion and art, unseen by the general public.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s portraits are probably the most dissimilar from Irving Penn’s in terms of style and subject, but his photographs use the same ideas of beauty. Mapplethorpe was born in Queens, NY in 1946, and studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn before dropping out to live in New York full time