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Wednesday, 22 August 2007


I have read that H C-B did not like to have his picture taken. In Newman's photo his thoughts seem to be elsewhere and he is not looking at the camera. Any significance to the "3" on the wall, I wonder.

Happy Birthday, Henri! Your legacy lives on.

FYI: here is a site that has HCB's Opus "The Decisive Moment" for viewing:

It's an understatement to say he didn't like his photo taken. I remember reading about a squabble between HCB and David Douglas Duncan.

The two men sat and talked, and DDD shot an entire roll of pictures of HCB. Later, he published them, and HCB was quite upset. He objected strongly to having his picture taken and published without his approval.

Seems strange, since he had made a very long career of doing exactly that to thousands of people.

Wes Medlin

Thanks for remembering. And where did you find the Newman portrait? I'd love to see a real print, or even one in a book. It would be interesting to compare it with the better-known portrait by Beaumont Newhall from around the same time.

This afternoon while waiting for an image to print, I randomly pulled the Summer 2003 issue of Aperture off the shelf. It has an interesting interview of H C-B by Diana Stoll. Oh, that we all could be so lucid and insightful at age 95: "To see is sensitivity in relation to shape and geometry". Several previously unpublished photos illustrate the interview.

Very cool Newman portrait. I've never seen it before. I travelled to Paris shortly after HCB's death in July of 2004. We stayed in a hotel very close to his apartment. I contacted the HCB Foundation, sure that they would have a retrospective, memorial or something to celebrate his life. Silly me. It was August. They were closed. Damn, the French know how to live...

Mark, you can find this portrait of HCB in Taschen's "Arnold Newman" ISBN 3822825921, page 96.

I think HCB didn't want his appearance to become widely known because it would have made his street work harder to pull off. No inconsistency in that; I suspect if the man had not been a very specific type of photographer (invisible), he wouldn't have had any problem with having his picture taken.

I'm probably in the minority here, but I actually prefer Newman's work to HCB's. (not that I dislike HCB or there's any reason to choose between the two)

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