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Photos to take your breath away! Wow, again I wish I knew something about photography and especially photographers BEFORE I shot rock. 

Legendary photographer Arnold Newman captured and expressed people’s souls, let us into their private interiors, and said so much about WHO they were. You can’t get that with a fast snapshot or selfie. Takes some thought and skills. A lot. He was obviously passionate, knowledgeable, energetic and dedicated to his art.

This post inspired by New York Times article due to new publication of Arnold Newman: One Hundred from Radius Books.

The wonderful description on Amazon for an earlier book, One Mind’s Eye: The Portraits and Other Photographs of Arnold Newman, sounds fascinating.

Can you imagine taking photos or creating ANY art with these intentions? I can and do have these intentions, intense thought and preparation. But few succeed as well as genius Arnold Newman.

Even if you can’t reach these goals, just being aware this is how many artists think and behave CAN help you, in many small ways.

“These are great photographs because they are framed with intelligence, composed with vision and sympathy, and executed with consummate craft.”

Arnold Newman’s photo of Max Ernst captured him so well! Surrounded by various objets d’art, with a cloud of mystical cigarette smoke swirling around to somewhat reveal trickster, Dadaist turned Surrealist, enginamtic and serenely playful.

(Ernst played a MAJOR role in my life. I will never forget turning around at LACMA and being confronted with “Europe After the Rain” (or a variation). He invented “frottage.” I had never seen anything like it.

Opened up my mind, fer sure. This was pre-net, when I just started college, limited exposure to paintings, with no art history classes yet. I went to one of my first exhibits at LACMA (LA County Museum of Art). Being exposed to Surrealism opened many doors of perception and exploration. Ernst was quite a character!)

Dadaist Surrealist trickster, inventive painter, Max Ernst.

I love his use of black and white. Revelation seeing the great 1920s German Expressionist and quite politically and culturally radical George Grosz.

German Expressionist painter, George Grosz. Known for his anti-fascist and anti-corrupt society images. Stunning, memorable and brave.

Every photo tells quite a story, or many of them. What stories, what feelings do you have when viewing his photos? His subjects? Does this inspire you to find out more about the people, places and times he photographed? Many major cultural icons. Movies, music, art, politics and much more.

Do his photos inspire you to think differently about your compositions? The way he arranges people, objects and environment seem contemporary, but were innovative for his time. 

Famous photo of composer Igor Stravinsky by Arnold Newman

Love the stories. Did you read about his uber-famous shot of Stravinsky was commissioned by and then REJECTED by Harper’s Bazaar magazine? Incredible. I love the reason he cropped this photo the way he did. THOUGHTFUL. Mindful.

Newman told stories through his photos. Maybe not many of us ‘got’ it, but we can and do react on a visceral level. Because of those stories in his head and heart.

Great article. Inspiring photos. Wow, I want that book. What say you? 

You can read a few free articles from the New York Times per month. Check your library because many offer free daily access. 

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