n°189/ The Penn Mystery

September 2015

by Nathalie Azoulai

How come there is only one photograph of the Penn brothers by Henri Cartier-Bresson while the eldest one, Irving, was one of the greatest photographers ever? How come none of them utterly talked about the other one whereas we find no lead of any argument or harsh rivalry? How come Irving's massive influence on Arthur hasn't been really told except for this statement by Warren Beatty about the portrait Irving shot in 1967 right after the actor starred in Bonnie and Clyde, directed by Arthur: “Irving used one light,” Beatty recalled. “Which I then assumed had been a major influence in the way Arthur wanted Bonnie and Clyde to be shot.” How come we just can't find this very portrait? Any clue to solve the Penn Mystery?

 Irving Penn

 Arthur Penn: Bonnie & Clyde