Whenever I want to photograph someone, I read about them. I read biographies. If they are painters or scientists, I know their work. This is all good. It prepares me to observe. For example, with Stravinsky, I loved his work and when I was asked to photograph him finally he was staying in a hotel, this was in New York, I had no opportunity to get out to the West Coast where he lived — this goes along with another question you had about him — I am not only an environmental but a portrait photographer. So, I am going to the concerts all the time. I love music. Everything from Beethoven to good New Orleans jazz. I would watch the piano or notice the piano. It was strong, harsh, beautiful and it looked like a big flat. It looked very much like his own work. We went on from that point after we researched his apartment to find the right place (including Steinway) to find the right place with the right kind of piano. Other times when I have no opportunity and I have to come take a quick look, I have to use all the resources of all those years of experience, my knowledge, my innate ability to look around, which most people should have that should be in the arts, and have to make quick decisions. I do almost as well that way as when I am researching it. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a better photograph. It just simply means that I am able to think better. Let’s put it that way.
– Arnold Newman