Arnold Newman + Essay Development

I've been refining my essay idea looking through a number of resources. The book 'Interviews with Master Photographers' has provided a fantastic insight into the techniques and philosophies of photographers, particularly with portraiture photographers Yousuf Karsh and Arnold Newman.

Newman interested me in particular with his ideas that photography is not confined to realism, but gains a 'new power when it is released from realism'. To the contrary to popular belief, Newman finds 'many things false in photography' but rather an illusion of reality that we must recognise and interpret like any other art form.

Newman produced a particularly powerful piece of Alfried Krupp, a 'horrible human' who chained his slaves to machinery of his arms factory to stop them from escaping when the bombers came. He underfed his workers 'even to Nazi standards', sending them to concentration camps once they underperformed. Newman himself states that the subject makes the piece, suggesting that he has simply portrayed the Krupp for who he is, essentially as 'the face of evil'.

A powerful portrait, if a little contrived, reminiscent to the power a portrait can have with the previous example of Myra Hindley.


Being well aware of the vastness of my initial essay title, I have begun to narrow this down adjusting the focus to look at an area of transition in photographic portraiture. Thus, I am considering the title of: 'A Transition of Photography in Portraiture and the Nature of Identity', which hopefully narrows down the subject area of focus.

The structure would consist:
  • Small introduction of photographic portraiture
  • Photography's attempt to capture identity of the soul and essence of the subject
  • Conversely following photography's obliteration of identity
  • Conclusion
One or two artists with an ideal piece each will help illustrate the transition of photography to draw a conclusion. In this way, I hope to draw a structured and focused essay while keeping in line with the 1500 word count.

Thoughts and feedback are welcome.


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