Michael Alvin Penn, 48 (is this his current age?), is the son of the late industrial artist and photographer, Alvin Penn.
After his first solo photo exhibition at Silicon Gallery in Philadelphia, Michael launched his new career by shooting contemporary and classic architecture in and around Philadelphia. It was during this time that his Benjamin Franklin Bridge portfolio was gaining national and global recognition.
Since that first solo show, Michael has gone on to exhibit in nine group shows from Manhattan to Santiago, Chile. His works have been purchased for the permanent collections at The Wharton Business School of The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Eagles Football Organization.
Michael’s growing interest in the photography of W. Eugene Smith, William Klein, and Takuma Nakahira slightly altered his views about his own work. It was the 2009 lecture and meeting of Daido Moriyama that was the catalyst for a change in his photographic gears that lead to The Philadelphia Project, 1000 photos on the streets of Philadelphia. The project was a self-published series of 40 zine-style books (25 full bleed images) that documented Philadelphia at the start of its gentrification process. The books, in editions of 50, each month for 36 months, sold out. Copies are in holdings at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The announcement that Little Pete’s was in danger of redevelopment added a sidebar to Michael’s career. Little Pete’s is a full color series, whereas his other portfolios are mostly black & white photography.
Michael currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife and their two cats. He also has a beautiful view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from each window inside his residence.