Master Photographer: Arnold Newman

When I think about photography and the world of portraiture, my mind heads directly to the Master, Arnold Newman (1918 – 2006), an American photographer. It’s takes a special talent to take a great portrait, conveying something about the subject, letting the viewer in on a guarded secret. It’s something I’m not particularly great at nor am comfortable with. That’s ultimately why I hold those that are… in high esteem.

Newman, my personal favorite “portrait” photographer said early on in his career : “While taking hundreds of 49 cent portraits, I came to understand to importance of interacting with the people in front of my lens“. His career was helped along by the guidance of Alfred Steiglitz (Father of Photography) and Beaumont Newhall ( a legend among artists in the field) and ultimately he became one of the most talented and sought after photographers of all time.

In Newmans extensive career, he went on to photograph many of the world’s leading artists, writers, poets, politicians, and other’s of great accomplishment.  He was called an “Environmental Portraiture” artist, a term he himself disliked. It places a subject in a carefully composed setting, capturing the essence of their work and personality.


“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


Salvador Dali: Surrealist Artist (1951)


Pablo Picasso: Painter / Sculpter  (1954)


Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Painter (1941) 


Frank Lloyd Wright: Architect  (1947)


Ereo Saarinen: Architect and Furniture Designer (1948)


Igor Stravinsky: Composer  (1946)


Andy Warhol: Mixed Media Artist  (1973)


Henry Miller: Author  (1976)


Truman Capote: Author  (1977)


Rupert Murdoch: International Media Executive  (1977)


Philip Glass: Post Modern Composer  (1981)


Tony Smith: Sculpture  (1967)


Andrew Wyeth: Painter  (1976)


Dr. Jonas Salk: Biologist and Physician (Polio Vaccine)  (1975)


Martha Graham: Avant-garde Choreographer (1961)


Paul Strand: Photographer  (1966)


Willie (The Lion) Smith: Jazz Musician  (1960)


Grandma Moses: Primitive Painter  (1949)


Georgia O’Keeffe: Painter  (1968)


Otto Frank: Father of Ann Frank  (1960)


Aaron Copland: Composer  (1959)



7 Responses to “Master Photographer: Arnold Newman”

  1. All amazing photographs, but I especially like the portrait of Ereo Saarinen and Igor Stravinsky! Masterful use of space and composition.

  2. Kevin,
    The Stravinsky portrait was my introduction to Newman many years ago. It’ remains my favorite although Ereo’s white space is very cool. I also love the one of Jonas Salk.I am very drawn to graphic shapes in photography.

  3. I’ve attempted portraits and I must say, I’m not pleased with the results. Even though I am not comfortable, I continue to attempt. Arnold Newman is the master.

  4. Tam,

    You and I are on that portrait raft together…just hang on over the falls and keep trying. I figure a person can only get better with each attempt!


  5. Yes, H, on the portrait business, please keep trying. You have something, you were born with it, I see it in your work with inanimate objects.. to me they are like portraits, they speak.. C

  6. Veronica M Says:

    Inspirational artist! I enjoy most his compositions and the way he presents a person in their personal surroundings. An amazing artist!

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