Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Arnold Newman.
“There are many things that are very false about photography when it is accepted without question. You must recognize and interpret it as you would any other art form, and then maybe it is a little more than real.” – Arnold Newman
“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.”
― Arnold Newman
“We don’t take pictures with cameras – we take them with our hearts and minds.” – Arnold Newman
“The camera is a mirror with a memory, but it cannot think.” – Arnold Newman
“Visual ideas combined with technology combined with personal interpretation equals photography. Each must hold it’s own; if it doesn’t, the thing collapses.” – Arnold Newman
“Influences come from everywhere but when you are actually shooting you work primarily by instinct. But what is instinct? It is a lifetime accumulation of influence: experience, knowledge, seeing and hearing. There is little time for reflection in taking a photograph. All your experiences come to a peak and you work on two levels: conscious and unconscious.” – Arnold Newman
“There are very few Cartier-Bressons, Brassais, and W. Eugene Smiths in the world, but to me these men are photographers. They are artists because they make statements that all of us wish we could have made.” – Arnold Newman
“I didn’t set out to do something different so much as do something that interested me. I wasn’t trying to be avant-garde – that’s being fashionable. You don’t set out to revolutionize art, you make statements for yourself.” – Arnold Newman
“The photographer must be a part of the picture.” – Arnold Newman
“I don’t think any student, any photographer, any person should take pictures the way I take pictures. I build them because it’s the way I am, and that’s the way I should be. If I try to be something else and try to take pictures or talk to you humorously because I think I’ll get a few laughs, no. Somebody else, like Duane Michals might be basically funny. He is that way, he makes me laugh all the time. But he is being himself. A writer must be himself, a painter, all of us – or else suddenly we lose what we have.” – Arnold Newman
“A preoccupation with abstraction, combined with an interest in the documentation of people in their natural surroundings, was the basis upon which I built my approach to portraiture. The portrait of a personality must be as complete as we can make it. The physical image of the subject and the personality traits that image reflects are the most important aspects, but alone they are not enough…We must also show the subject’s relationship to his world either by fact or by graphic symbolism. The photographer’s visual approach must weld these ideas into an organic whole, and the photographic image produced must create an atmosphere which reflects our impressions of the whole.” – Arnold Newman
“There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. We know that’s impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants.” – Arnold Newman
“I am always lining things up, measuring angles, even during this interview. I’m observing the way you sit and the way you fit into the composition of the space around you.” – Arnold Newman
“I think photography is a matter of controlling what’s in front of you and making it do your will. This, of course, implies absolute mastery over camera, medium, techniques, and the ability to work with the subject and get him willingly and happily without any self-conscious feeling to fall into those things which are natural to him. This is a very complicated thing to do in portraiture. Mine are deliberately self-conscious portraits and therefore contain no forced feeling of candidness… the subject is unaware of the fact that I am waiting – things begin to happen – the man begins to reveal himself. If the background becomes overwhelming and you lose the personality, then I have not made a good portrait and it is not a good picture. I think the world is full of intelligent people who are not really trying to be flattered; what they really want is to be understood”. The more I get to know my subject the more he gets to know me, and so often the pictures taken at the end of a sitting are much better both creatively and interpretively… A photographer is always in a state of preparing himself for a given moment… we have only an instant in which to think and act.” – Arnold Newman
“It seems to me that no one picture can ever be a final summation of a personality. There are so many facets in every human being that it is impossible to present them all in one photograph.” – Arnold Newman
“I’m convinced that any photographic attempt to show the complete man is utter nonsense, to an extent. We can only show, as best we can, what the outer man reveals; the inner man is seldom revealed to anyone, sometimes not even to the man himself. We have to interpret.” – 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
“Fantasy is like poetry; it can point to the truth.” – Arnold Newman
“I don’t care what you do with that negative, you can retouch it, you can spit on it, you can grind it underfoot. The only thing that matters is if it is honest. If (the picture) is honest, you and everybody can tell. If it is dishonest, you and everybody can tell.” – Arnold Newman
“I often wonder whether I would have done as well in painting.” – Arnold Newman
“Photography is 1% talent and 99% moving furniture.” – Arnold Newman
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Photographer Arnold Newman is widely considered the ‘father of environmental portraiture’.
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