Street Material, New York

Platinum print. Printed in 1975-76

67.5 x 52 cm (26 9/16 x 20 1/2 in.)

The surface smeared with a thick layer of dirt, the eight of spades as well as the crumpled piece of paper are rendered all but unrecognisable with the use of black and white photography that gives them a strong aesthetic dimension, far from the original value associated with their use.

Begun in 1975, the series “Street Material” is dedicated to objects collected by Irving Penn on a street. Waste, lost or abandoned objects became photographic subjects that the artist enlarged and isolated in close-up frames, according to a unique genre of still life. At the crossroads of artistic and anthropological issues, this heteroclite and modest corpus with its themes stands out as a subjective archaeology of every day.

This set of photographs was first shown by the Pinault Collection at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” exhibition held at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.