11.24.2012

The final name on my list of the top five photographers of the 20th century is......

Of course, it's Arnold Newman. While there were a large number of great portrait photographers working over the course of the century Arnold Newman was prolific and strong willed. He kept recreating styles over and over again. I like the work of Phillipe Halsman and, of course, Yousuf Karsh, Newman's work is more modern and even post modern while maintaining the sense of a privileged point of view.

His image of Igor Stravinski is both compelling and beautifully designed. His work encompassed so many famous and unfamous people for a span of over 50 years. He would be my choice for the 5th person on my list because of both his rigorous seeing and his ability to present his sitters.

Sadly, I've had to leave out several of my favorite fashion and advertising photographers, like Bert Stern (caution: music on website!!!), Chris Van Wagennheim, Arthur Elgort, and Albert Watson.

My tiny list also left out Susan Meiseles (brilliant multi-media documentarian) and Mary Ellen Mark.  And so many more.  I guess over the next month or so I need to compile a list of the top 100 influences, from my point of view. A list of driven, amazing people. And that's probably the one commonality that intersects within all of these people. They are or were driven to photograph and they did it relentlessly, not just for a lark on a sunny saturday afternoon....

Here's a link to a group of great books about Arnold Newman

Here's a link to an archive of his photographs:

http://www.arnoldnewmanarchive.com/

And here is a link to my all time favorite Arnold Newman portrait:

My Favorite Arnold Newman Portrait.




Go see my own portraits on my 500 px gallery: 


12 comments:

Gordon Coale said...

I highly recommend Masterclass: Arnold Newman.

Dave Jenkins said...

It's pretty hard to imagine a top five list without Edward Weston.

ainde terio said...

Speaking of Yousuf Karsh, being a portrait photographer, I really think that you would appreciate the work of George Nakash a portrait photographer who happens to be Karsh's uncle. He was instrumental in bringing Karsh to North America. He was also Karsh's first photography teacher.

There's a book on Nakash, simple called..."Nakash" by Betty Guernsey, Fides being the editor.

Kirk Tuck said...

I believe that Weston's influence was far, far greater than the intrinsic value his very small collection of works. I've examined many Weston prints in the Gernsheim Collection at the Humanities Research Center and while they were truly masterful for their day I just don't feel that most of his work has an enduring power. He lived the excitement, it only rarely found its way onto paper.

Dave Jenkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Jenkins said...

Wow! Well, at least we agree about Eggleston. :-)

Kirk Tuck said...

Dave, The Peppers, The nudes of Charis, the portraits of his sons, the Nautilus, the Dunes, and landscapes of the coast. Which images do you think are so iconic that they should be included? He was a great photographer. Not everyone can be on a small list. But yes, at least we agree about Eggleston!!! :-)

Dave Jenkins said...

Hey, it's your list. :-) I have no problem at all with that. My list will be different from yours, and others will have lists that are different from either of ours. My personal list would include, for instance, Fritz Henle and Julius Schulman, photographers whose work is no longer well known, but which resonates deeply with me.

Schulman was probably the greatest of all architectural photographers. He retired while in his 80s, got bored, came out of retirement, and worked until his death at age 99, getting around with a walker with an assistant carrying his camera and tripod. That makes him a personal hero, because I'm 75 and hope to work as long as I'm physically able.

Joey said...

As a relative dweeb when it comes to this, I have to say that I was most enamored by Weston's since of adventure, running around with Charis, etc. I'm often envious of those who seem to be able to shun the normal and blaze their own path; however, in the end, I'm happy to not have metal in my nose.

Steve Miller said...

I agree with your choice of Arnold Newman. One of my favorites is the Igor Stravinsky portrait with the composer in the extreme lower left corner. I think the shot is pure genious, from the composition, to the pose, to the the tonality. But I've always wondered if my favorite design element in the image is intentional or not. I'm referring to the piano and how it looks like a flattened letter "b", or b-flat. I assume it was intentional on Newman's part but would love to know if anyone has the backstory on it.

By the way, people always debate about the merits of cropping in post-processing and whether that takes away from the integrity of the initial capture (or something like that). For anyone who says the masters didn't crop and would nail it in camera, the original frame for the Stravinksy portrait above is in the preface to One Man's Eye (great book, I assume it's on your list Kirk). Newman cropped that shot aggressively and for my eyes, the result was perfection. If one of the greatest photographers of all time was okay with cropping in 1946, I'm not going to lose sleep over it today!

Anonymous said...

The link to your alltime favorite portrait just links to the portrait page, which one is it??? anxiously pondering the 66 choices.

Kirk Tuck said...

Wouldn't you know it? A flash gallery... Well, my favorite is the image of Stravinsky at the Piano, followed closely by Pablo Picasso, followed in close order by Marilynn Monroe...