|Born||Arnold Abner Newman
March 3, 1918
New York, New York, USA
|Died||June 6, 2006
New York, New York, USA
|Known for||Portrait Photography
|Movement||Environmental Portraiture (founder/coined phrase)|
|Awards||Infinity Award (1999)
Lucie Award (2004)
Arnold Abner Newman (born 3 March 1918 - June 6, 2006) was an American photographer, noted for his "environmental portraits" of artists and politicians. He was also known for his carefully composed abstract still life images.
Early life and career
Born in Manhattan, Newman grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey and later moved to Miami Beach, Florida. In 1936, he studied painting and drawing at the University of Miami. Unable to afford continuing after two years, he moved to Philadelphia to work for a studio making 49-cent portraits in 1938.
Newman returned to Florida in 1942 to manage a portrait studio in West Palm Beach. Three years later he opened his own business in Miami Beach.
In 1946, Newman relocated to New York, opened Arnold Newman Studios and worked as a freelance photographer for Fortune, Life, and Newsweek. Though never a member, Newman frequented the Photo League during the 1940s.
Success as a photographer
Newman found his vision in the empathy he felt for artists and their work. Although he photographed many personalities—Marlene Dietrich, John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Mantle, and Audrey Hepburn—he maintained that even if the subject is not known, or is already forgotten, the photograph itself must still excite and interest the viewer.
Newman is often credited with being the first photographer to use so-called environmental portraiture, in which the photographer places the subject in a carefully controlled setting to capture the essence of the individual's life and work. Newman normally captured his subjects in their most familiar surroundings with representative visual elements showing their professions and personalities. A musician for instance might be photographed in their recording studio or on stage, a Senator or other politician in their office or a representative building. Using a large-format camera and tripod, he worked to record every detail of a scene.
"I didn't just want to make a photograph with some things in the background," Newman told American Photo magazine in an interview. "The surroundings had to add to the composition and the understanding of the person. No matter who the subject was, it had to be an interesting photograph. Just to simply do a portrait of a famous person doesn't mean a thing."
Newman's best-known images were in black and white, although he often photographed in color. His black and white portrait of Igor Stravinsky seated at a grand piano became his signature image, even though it was rejected by the magazine that gave the assignment to Newman. He was one of the few photographers allowed to make a portrait of the famously camera-shy Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Among Newman's best-known color images is an eerie portrait that shows convicted former Nazi slave labor boss Alfried Krupp in one of Krupp's factories.
"One Mind's Eye, The Portraits and Other Photographs of Arnold Newman", by Arnold Newman, Introduction by Robert A. Sobieszek, David R. Godine, Publisher, 1974.
"Arnold Newman", Essay by Phillip Brookman, Taschen, 2006.
- 1999 Infinity Award for Master of Photography, International Center of Photography, Manhattan
- 2004 Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Portrait Photography, International Photography Awards program, Los Angeles, California
- 2004 He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography.