Three decades later, Penn is one of the very few masters of postwar photography to work in colors. He is aging and now observes the degradation of fruits and of everyday objects. Things in their greatest splendor no more appeal him, he prefers to make perfect pictures of their early degeneration.
The gingko is a small ornamental tree common in New York where its leaves turn the streets yellow in the fall. It is also a symbol of longevity and immortality, regarded as the oldest surviving tree species from geological time, with some specimens more than 1000 years old.
In 1990, Penn positions two gingko leaves head to tail, flat on a white surface. Since the time of his fashion photographs, the artist uses white or neutral backgrounds to avoid disturbing the viewer's attention away from the main theme. A leaf begins to turn yellow at the edges, the other is already drying.
This photo pleases Penn. On the following year, he chooses it as the cover image for his retrospective collection with a significant title : Passage. In 1992, the year when Lisa died, he printed this photo in 22 copies 58 x 48 cm. One of them was sold for € 343K including premium by Christie's on 1 July 2014. Another one is estimated $ 300K for sale by Christie's in New York on October 5, lot 34.