Study the Masters: Arnold Newman

In Influences, Study the Masters by David4 Comments


Last week I introduced you to Yousuf Karsh. American-born Arnold Newman (1918-2006) was his contemporary and the studying the two together is an interesting study in voice. Both photographed largely in black and white, both photographed celebrities, artists, and luminaries of their generation, and both used simple composition. To my eye, Newman is more graphic, though he leans no less on the importance of moment and emotion. He also feels a little more casual and, without taking anything away from Karsh, feels a little more accessible. His portraits of Picasso, above, and of Stravinsky, below, are among my favourites.

“We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds,” ~ Arnold Newman


There’s a great article over on My Modern Met about Newman, here, and it’s a good introduction to his work.

If you’re looking to get a book, there are two I recommend. The first is One Mind’s Eye (Amazon link) and the second is Masterclass: Arnold Newman, by William A. Ewing. (Amazon link)


  1. Very interesting images on the link, thanks David. I’m most impressed with him taking the portrait into full environmental context.

  2. A very topical post David, as I just attended Gregory Heisler’s talk, speaking about his own portraiture (e.g. for Time magazine and others) last night at Hart House (U of T). Gregory credited Arnold Newman for giving him a start in professional photography…

  3. A distant Uncle? I’ll hope for some genealogical connection, but it may be far fetched. Thank you for the introduction to his work, David.

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