Irving Penn: Small Trades
Virginia A. Heckett, Anne Lacoste (Eds.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2010
out of print
Created in 1950 and 1951 in Paris, London, and New York, The Small Trades consists of portraits of skilled trades people dressed in their work clothes and carrying the tools of their respective trades. Capturing the humble coal heaver and the crisply dressed waiter with equal directness, Penn’s arresting portraits also underscore fascinating cultural differences.
The Small Trades was Penn’s most extensive body of work, and he returned to it over many decades, producing ever more exacting prints. Two hundred and six unique images from the series are flawlessly reproduced in this book. In addition, the introductory essay describes the history and context of The Small Trades series and its importance to Penn’s career and the history of photography. An interview with Edmonde Charles-Roux, the chief editor for French Vogue from 1952 to 1966, who assisted him on the assignment in Paris, provides fascinating insights of the Paris sittings.