Thursday, August 13, 2009

Arnold Newman

[[ "Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world." ]] -- Arnold Newman

When we look back on the work of so-called photo masters of the century, their technique sometimes seems sloppy and amateur . You'll see a lot of weird crops, blur, obvious darkroom manipulation, etc -- mistakes that would not pass today in the world of portraiture. I kept noticing this at an exhibit I saw this summer of Avedon's fashion work at the ICP. Some of his early photos are out of focus or poorly lit with screamingly bad highlights or glares. These faults don't really bother me -- but I notice them, and I'm sure other photographers do as well, which goes to show that the technical standards have definitely changed. For better or worse, these photographers still inspire because of their content, not the quality of their camera.

Anyway, I don't want to use this space to rehash on the "legends," but I think Arnold Newman is totally extraordinary. However weird and silly it is, I can feel my own personality and way of seeing in his images; It's like we like to look at the same things in the same way. I was flipping through this multimedia piece PDN put out on him, and I was once again reminded how he can bring together, with such fluidity, creative/complex graphic design and fascinating content to make a great single image -- even though his technique might not always be right on.

There's just a small sampling of his work below. You should really check out the piece above or The Arnold Newman Archive :: here :: to get a better sense of his career and personality.

I hate when people have a list of the such and such five photographers who have most inspired them and their work, but I cannot deny that I will always look at Newman's images and feel some kind of connection.

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