Born on March 3, 1918 in New York, Newman began studying painting after moving to Miami with his family. It was not long before his interests turned to photography where he began working in a chain of portrait studios, as well as doing social documentary work on issues such as the urban poor. At the age of only 23, Newman had the first exhibition of his work in a Manhattan gallery where he met many of the most influential photographers of the time, including Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams.
Newman’s career quickly escalated as he explored the idea of photographing his subjects in their own personal environments. He first began photographing artists, often with their own work, and quickly moved on to photographing some of the world’s most prominent figures. With careful composition and dynamic design, his environmental portraiture managed to evoke a sense of the person’s inner spirit. Newman explained, “I am interested in what motivates individuals, what they do with their lives, their personalities, and how I perceive and interpret them.”
Having worked for magazines such as LIFE, Fortune, and Newsweek and photographed figures from John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright, Arnold Newman became known across the globe. Refusing to photograph only those “famous for being famous” such as actors and rock stars, Newman inked his own name in the pages of history. With his strong desire and innate ability to capture something more than just a good portrait, Newman serves as an example for generations of photographers to come.
We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds.