I know, I know. I’m a pathetic shill. But trust me – for every Getty related post I do, there are a dozen things they’re doing that I don’t write about.
Got the E-mail today. The Getty has acquired Irving Penn’s master set of prints from his series, The Small Trades. It’s almost as if they know what I’m into and are dead set on pleasing me. So thanks for stroking my interests, Getty.
I’ve been working with labor photographer Slobodan Dimitrov for almost seven years now, he was the first artist I worked with at Angels Gate, on the Apron Strings exhibition, where I hung about 60 portraits of apron clad workers that he shot. So being around Slobodan, becoming aware of the history of labor photography, obsessing over it, etc… makes me really excited about the Penn acquisition.
There are 252 photos of 215 subjects in The Small Trades, a project that grew out of a 1950 assignment to shoot Paris workers for Vogue magazine. Penn followed up his Paris assignment by photographing subjects in London and New York. He shot the workers in the studio, against a neutral background, using high speed roll film, to get a grainy effect.
The prints go on display in September 2009. To my knowledge this body of work is unpublished (as a whole) in book form, but a catalog is planned for the exhibition. So wait patiently my friends…
A side note – being kind of a Web 2.0 guy, and working at a small institution with six employees (including two facilities/maintenance people), I’m mystified and fascinated by the PR processes of the Getty. I recently received the California Video PR kit, and it came with a disc with a teaser video, and a list of available still promotional images. I presumed from looking over the list of images that they would be included on the disc, but they’re not – If I want them, I have to request them. Why not just throw them on the disc? For this announcement, they attached a .pdf indicating available press images. I requested two images, but the copyright agreement only allows one image per publication, and when the requested image arrived in my mailbox, it was accompanied by its own .pdf, explaining that I can only have it on my site for a year, only for the purpose requested, and that it must be accompanied by the appropriate copyright and collection info.
At Top: Deep Sea Diver (B), New York, 1951, gelatin silver print, Irving Penn, copyright 1951 (renewed 1979) by Conde Nast Publications Ltd., Partial Gift of Irving Penn, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA