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Known best for his fashion photography, Irving Penn created his own photographic assignments for flower studies throughout the '60s and '70s and the series was presented together for the time in this edition. While many of the flowers are bright and fresh, many are shown in stages of decomposition, acknowledging the impending prospect of death. Penn commented:
"I can claim no special knowledge of horticulture… I even confess to enjoying that ignorance since it has left me free to react with simple pleasure just to form and colour, without being diverted by considerations of rarity or tied to the convention that a flower must be photographed at its moment of unblemished, nubile perfection."
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