San Francisco


Platinum-palladium print, printed in 1980.

50 x 51.2 cm (19 11/16 x 20 3/16 in.)

When he moved to San Francisco in 1967, Irving Penn was impressed by the unique new society he encountered. He then decided to produce a series of photographs dedicated to a young generation of Californians at the edge of society. Thus, alongside the Hell’s Angels, his studio was visited by families of hippies and figures of the artistic scene, starting with rock bands, following an artistic as well as anthropological approach.

These individual or group portraits, carefully posed, always take place in a neutral solid decor, similar to his New York photographic studio. The frontal gazes and the illumination of bodies through strong light contrasts give these figures of their time a physical presence that captures the gaze.

Four photographs of this series were purchased by the Pinault Collection. They were later presented at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.