Last week a few friends and I went to the opening of the Arnold Newman Exhibition, “”Luminaries of the Twentieth Century in Art, Politics and Culture” at the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery at Lebanon Valley College. Newman has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and the opportunity to see his work in other than a book was marvelous. The experience emphasized a point I read recently that said we should print our work as that is the only way we really see what we have done.
In this age of digital image making we have become accustomed to viewing our work on a computer monitor. Books of photographs done in the past can be disappointing as the reproduction is often less than spectacular. There is something about the visceral reaction to a photographic print that exceeds the printed page and the monitor experience. The show was delightfully large for a small venue with nearly 50 images on display.The display space is delightful.
Notable in the printing was the difference in how photographers view the reproduction of skin tones compared to contemporary image makers. Newman’s skin tones were printed well down to values we older photographers recognize as zone V and zone VI, a few younger images being noticeably lighter. Add to that his contrasty lighting style and many younger photographers could see most of his images as rather on the dark side. This was fitting for someone whose artistic values grew from association with Stieglitz and Steichen.
The exhibit will continue until March 18th, and further information is available on my website newsletter which is linked to in the main menu area. I plan to return for a closer look with fewer viewers.