small trades

I saw my mother-in-law this week, and she gave me Irving Penn’s Small Trades. It’s an amazing book of photography. Penn, one of the foremost Vogue photographers, spent several years in Paris, London & New York. He did fashion photography, yes.

But he also took pictures of tradespeople, wearing the clothes they wore to work, and sometimes carrying the tools of their trade. These are fantastic photos of a world that mostly doesn’t exist anymore. There are few charwomen or road sweepers left in the industrial world, anyway.

If you’re interested in a fascinating, artful depiction of the working people of sixty years ago, check this book out.

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April 2, 2010. books for grown-ups.

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