National Portrait Gallery

It’s painful and very exhausting.

Irving Penn's Rudolf Nureyev, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, Westminster, WC2H

It’s a kind of surgery…

Irving Penn's Al Pacino, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, Westminster, WC2H

…you cut an incision into their lives, you move into their circumstances…

Irving Penn's Duchess of Windsor, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, Westminster, WC2H

…and then you pin them down while you penetrate even further into their personalities.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, Westminster, WCH2

It’s the most painful kind of photography and after almost every sitting I wish I hadn’t gotten into that kind of thing.

David Hockney's Self Portrait, National Gallery, St Martin's Place, Westminster, WC2H

It’s a matter of controlling a person and yet wanting not to control him too much so that he can still reveal something that is true of himself.

Ronald Traeger's Twiggy, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, Westminster, WC2H

By Irving Penn

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