Portrait Masters: Arnold Newman
Arnold Newman was born in Manhattan in 1918, going on to study painting and drawing in Florida. He assisted at a photography studio in Philadelphia before opening his own studio business in 1945, first in Miami then back in New York.
Like Richard Avedon, Newman photographed many politicians and celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Aubrey Hepburn and Ronald Reagan. It was for his work with artists in particular though that he became best known. He developed relationships with many of the artists and understood their work, often incorporating something of the style of the artist into his portraits.
Newman was also one of the first portrait photographers to grasp and develop the concept of the environmental portrait, photographing his subjects in their own surroundings and using elements of those surroundings as key components of his compositions.
Lessons to learn from Arnold Newman
Know your subject. It was through is familiarity with the artists work that Newman was able to create unique and very personal compositions that played with elements of his own style alongside those of the artists he photographed.
Don't be afraid to crop. Newman's well known portrait of Picasso in particular was heavily cropped from the original image. He seemingly didn't hesitate to search within an image for the exact frame and composition that would be most effective.
Experiment. In the Andy Warhol portraits, Newman was tearing and cutting at prints to piece them back together in creating the finished work. It was inventive and innovative, but again in keeping with the subject rather than doing something different for the sake of it.
You can see most of Arnold Newman's work on a website partly run by his family at www.arnoldnewman.com.