Arnold Newman | Portraits

Posted: November 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Architecture, Cinema, Film, Los Angeles, New York City, Painting, Photography, Quotes

Roy Lichtenstein, 1976 © Arnold Newman

Roy Lichtenstein, 1976 © Arnold Newman

If it’s a good photograph and says something about the person, than I think it’s a good portrait.

- Arnold Newman

Piet Mondrian, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Piet Mondrian, 1942 © Arnold Newman

I wasn’t mimicking it (Mondrian’s style), I was echoing it. I did it deliberately and when he saw the results, he loved it. He gave me the original drawings of Broadway Boogie-Woogie. It was the only thing he could give me. I was stunned at the time.

The thing is I was trying to say with my photographs what Mondrian meant to me. That I would copy his work or anybody else’s in order to do it to me would be horrifying because I would be copying and not creating. A lot of people do that. The man by the way is stiff, linear and very formal, just like his own work.

- Arnold Newman

Truman Capote, 1977 © Arnold Newman

Truman Capote, 1977 © Arnold Newman

Ayn Rand, 1964 © Arnold Newman

Ayn Rand, 1964 © Arnold Newman

Ava Gardner, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Ava Gardner, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Movie stars, actors…all they have is themselves. They have no other ability but to go on and portray somebody else. They don’t know how to be themselves. And it becomes a very difficult thing. Very rarely a great artist, not rarely, but only a few of them can say I don’t really care, I have warts, photograph me with the warts.

- Arnold Newman

Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe, 1962 © Arnold Newman

Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe, 1962 © Arnold Newman

I was acquainted with Carl at that time. He was working on the west coast, working on the words of Jesus in the Greatest Story Ever Told. He said come on out, let’s start work. I stayed with a friend of mine, a producer on a film, Something’s Got To Give. And that was of course the film that Marilyn didn’t finish.

I never saw the glamorous creature. Oh, I saw flashes of her in public and all that. But in the privacy of the home and wherever we were at, and later at my home, I saw nothing but a sad, sick girl.

- Arnold Newman

Leonard Bernstein, 1968 © Arnold Newman

Leonard Bernstein, 1968 © Arnold Newman

Max Ernst, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Max Ernst, 1942 © Arnold Newman

You wait for things to happen. Let’s say, I think I would like to photograph you over here, how about you standing behind the desk for a moment for me, and they’ll do that. Now, let’s face it, if you’ve got a very irritable subject or a man who is pretty rough and tough, President Johnson specifically, why don’t you just stand there for a few minutes, you just can’t do that. As a matter of fact, he gave me fifteen minutes, of course I took forty five. The idea was was that I was loosening him up, to get him used to the idea of photographing. I had to take a risk, my first risk shots, my insurance pictures at the beginning. They were not bad, but they were stiff and he was uptight, looking at his watch mentally.

Later, I got him to relax, we were kidding, he leaned sort of like this as he was waiting for me to get my camera ready again, which before he was very upset that I wasn’t ready. I was doing this on purpose. Finally, when he was like this, I said, don’t move.

- Arnold Newman

Alfred Krupp, 1963 © Arnold Newman

Alfred Krupp, 1963 © Arnold Newman

The worst people in the world, the real villains of today very often as Hitchcock said, hide in broad daylight, you just don’t recognize them. That’s the way Krupp was. He looked like a nice distinguished gentlemanly human being and he looked at my pictures and said, “Mr. Newman, I love your photographs so I think maybe we should take photographs.”

I worked this out where I got the lights to come under him, the usual thing. The result was that when I got him there, it was working but not really working. I had built a little platform of about two meters high, long enough to accommodate the both of us, him straddling a chair. I didn’t want to over do it. The lights were working beautifully but it just didn’t give me what I wanted. I went to Herr Bolen, that was his family name, “would you lean forward” and he leaned this way and my hair stood on end. There was the devil.

And they declared me persona non grata in Germany.

- Arnold Newman

Arthur Miller, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Arthur Miller, 1947 © Arnold Newman

John F. Kennedy © Arnold Newman

John F. Kennedy © Arnold Newman

Portraiture is a term that has taken on all these barnacles, all these terrible things that have happened to portraiture, on canvas, on stone, on metal, and then in photography. It’s something that is done to please the subject. A photographer is nothing more than a whore who does nothing but sit there thinking, will it please the subject, will i be able to sell him this picture, or will I be able to please him so he will buy it.

And the result is that little by little, people have begun to look down at portraiture, forgetting that the greatest artists in the world from Rembrandt, to Holbein, on up to Stieglitz and Strand, what have you, have all done portraiture and loved it. I happen to particularly love photographing people.

- Arnold Newman

Bill Clinton © Arnold Newman

Bill Clinton © Arnold Newman

Ansel Adams, 1975 © Arnold Newman

Ansel Adams, 1975 © Arnold Newman

Man Ray, 1948 © Arnold Newman

Man Ray, 1948 © Arnold Newman

Well, I didn’t mean to make a series of photographs on artists. My intent was explicitly to experiment with portraiture. And I hate the word portraiture. I prefer to call it photographs of people.

When I came to New York, you have to understand, in 1938, things were still bad from the depression and there wasn’t much money. I was unknown. I had this desire to make photographs of people but I didn’t know anyone. The ones that I wanted to meet, the ones that seemed to me, gave me the greatest opportunity…the artists were absolutely perfect.

- Arnold Newman

Salvador Dali, 1951 © Arnold Newman

Salvador Dali, 1951 © Arnold Newman

Henri Cartier-Bresson, NYC, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Henri Cartier-Bresson, NYC, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Cartier-Bresson is not a photojournalist. He takes individual images if you really look at them.

- Arnold Newman

Marc Chagall, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Marc Chagall, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Course Stieglitz was a man who I greatly admired and I had no idea that I was going to meet him. I do remember the fact that kept using words like inventive but the word that he kept using was honesty. He kept urging me then and later to be honest.

- Arnold Newman

Jean Dubuffet, 1956 © Arnold Newman

Jean Dubuffet, 1956 © Arnold Newman

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Great photographs are not made with a camera. They are made by a human being with a mind. And he uses a tool. If that tool cannot make a great work of art, then he discards the tool. As long as the tools are available to us to make something that satisfies us, we’ll use it, no matter how imperfect it is.

- Arnold Newman

I.M. Pei, 1967 © Arnold Newman

I.M. Pei, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Claes Oldenburg, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Claes Oldenburg, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

It all came to head in just a moment. I had been going to concerts and looking at various instruments. I had already photographed musical instruments in part and in whole and that sort of thing. Suddenly I realized that I had been admiring the shape of the piano and suddenly it hit me The piano shape – strong, hard, sharp, linear, beautiful in this strong harsh way was really the echo of Stravinsky’s work, his own music. When I thought about that, reflected on that, I thought where can I get a piano?

We found an editor who had a piano with a very simple wall, very simple background. I was able to manipulate the light on the background by simply taking one 1,000 watt light and moving it around until I got the exact light I wanted.

- Arnold Newman

Marcel Duchamp, 1966 © Arnold Newman

Marcel Duchamp, 1966 © Arnold Newman

Jean Arp, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Jean Arp, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Isamu Noguchi, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Isamu Noguchi, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Pablo Picasso, 1954 © Arnold Newman

Pablo Picasso, 1954 © Arnold Newman

[For the Picasso image] I used a small portion of a 4×5 negative which was part of a series that I did. I love the whole photograph, I still think that that is a successful photograph. What I realized in examining the photograph, the most exciting thing was face and his eyes so I decided to blow up that little section and make that the full image. And I blew it up and it was so successful, the old story, less is more. The impact of that closely cropped head with those fantastic eyes increased the value of the picture instead of decreasing it and it probably became one of my best known photographs.

- Arnold Newman

Louise Nevelson, 1972 © Arnold Newman

Louise Nevelson, 1972 © Arnold Newman


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National Gallery of Art

Posted: June 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Film, Photography, Washington DC

Calder, National Gallery of Art; Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm Summicron, Agfa APX 400 © Doug Kim

Calder, National Gallery of Art; Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm Summicron, Agfa APX 400 © Doug Kim


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I.M. Pei | National Gallery of Art, East Wing

Posted: September 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Architecture, dougKIM photography, Film, Leica

I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei, Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Agfa APX © Doug Kim

This was taken a few years ago when I was wandering in the National Gallery’s East Wing in Washington, DC.

In front of a huge Mark Rothko was someone standing close to the painting, maybe inches away, his hands clasped behind his back. For some reason, I knew it was I.M. Pei, inside one of his best (and one of his favorite) creations, admiring a wall decoration on a wall he designed. I rushed up behind him to take a photo of this diminutive giant in front of this massive Rothko. I was too slow with my Leica (bastards!), and missed the shot.

I managed to take this photo soon after but I can still perfectly recall the image of him in front of that ten foot painting.

Bastards bastards bastards.


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