I didn’t want to be just a photographer; I wanted to be an artist. – Arnold Newman

Exploring the Arnold Newman exhibit at the AGO became a richer experience as my friend Kelly, a skilled photographer, and I immersed ourselves in a curator’s talk before venturing into the mesmerizing realm captured through Newman’s lens. The dialogue unfolded between photographer Elizabeth Greenberg and Sophie Hackett, the AGO’s Curator of Photography, providing unique perspectives on Greenberg’s collaboration with the renowned American photographer Arnold Newman (1918 – 2006). Aligned with the exhibition “Building Icons: Arnold Newman’s Magazine World, 1938-2000,” the curator’s discussion established a compelling foundation for our upcoming journey of discovery.

Entering the AGO, our eyes were drawn to the incredibly arranged photographs, unfolding Newman’s artistic journey like a vivid visual timeline. It presented a narrative of growth and transformation that captivated us. We recalled key points from the curator’s enlightening dialogue and began to understand her words while walking through the exhibit.

raising artists

Kelly, with her keen photographer’s eye, brought an additional layer of appreciation to the exhibit. Shared glances of excitement passed between us as we delved into the meticulous details within Newman’s compositions and the interplay of light that animated each portrait. Influenced by the curator’s talk, Kelly’s insights provided a distinct perspective, shedding light on aspects that might have escaped my notice had I explored the exhibit alone.

The exhibit, already a captivating journey, became even more enriching with Kelly by my side. Exploring things with friends enhances the experience, infusing it with shared perspectives, lively discussions, and the joy of shared discovery. Our shared fascination with photography transformed the experience into a dialogue – a conversation not just between us but with the art itself. As we navigated through the gallery, it felt like we were uncovering the layers of Newman’s narrative together, with each photograph sparking a new conversation

raising artists

Arnold Newman’s signature style, marked by ingenious compositions and a keen eye for detail, was evident in every single photograph showcased. The play of light and shadow, along with the deliberate choice of backgrounds, seamlessly came together to create portraits that truly represented the individuals.

raising artists

For those planning to visit, I highly recommend attending any associated talks or events before seeing the exhibit. They provide a contextual backdrop that enhances the entire experience. Bringing along a friend, especially one with a passion for photography or art, transforms the visit from a solitary appreciation to a shared exploration, making the entire experience all the more memorable. The exhibit isn’t just about the photographs on display; it’s about the shared moments of discovery, the exchange of perspectives, and the mutual appreciation for the art form.

I loved each photograph, whether it captured the warmth of Georgia O’Keeffe’s smile or provided a glimpse into Jackson Pollock’s studio. Nevertheless, my true favorites were the images featuring Picasso. Having delved deeply into Picasso’s life and work through extensive study and reading, I found that these photos, in particular, authentically conveyed the essence of the Picasso I’ve come to know—an embodiment of the true artistry inherent in photography for me.

raising artists

In the end, as we left the gallery, the Arnold Newman exhibit lingered in my thoughts to the extent that I wanted to share it with you. It wasn’t just an exhibition; it was an immersive encounter with the essence of environmental portraiture. It truly reminded me of Kelly’s work and the projects we’ve done together.

The exhibit at the AGO, coupled with the curator’s talk, stands as a testament to the enduring impact of Newman’s contributions to the world of photography, inviting everyone to step into his world and see beyond the surface, where every portrait is a story waiting to be told.

Until then,
The Art Teacher