Irving Penn's Portraits at the Getty: Tip Your Waiter, Circa 1950

In the era of celebrity cooks and Top Chef, it's often the rest of the people who work in the restaurant and food industry who get forgotten. When was the last time the Food Network gave a show to a waiter or a fishmonger?

Between 1950 and 1951, photographer Irving Penn gave skilled tradespeople center stage in a series of black-and-white photographs, now on display at the Getty. The exhibition, "Irving Penn: Small Trades," is comprised of 252 photographs, taken in New York, London and Paris. Penn's subjects were in many fields: in addition to milkmen and waiters, he photographed newspaper sellers and rag-pickers, contortionists and firemen and chimney sweeps. Imagine if LA's paparazzi tracked the staff coming out of Gordon Ramsay's West Hollywood restaurant (well, before he

sold it), instead of the high-profile chef.

J. Paul Getty Museum: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; (310) 440-7300. The exhibit runs until January 10th, 2010.


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