When I was in college in the 80's he was my favorite photographer... I think because his style meant you didn't have to haul lights around.
After I graduated I flew to NYC to spend an afternoon with him and show him my great college portraits. He was very kind with his time.
When I first became interested in photography I went to the university library to see what books were on the shelf. Along with books with images by Adams, Weston and Kertesz was a compilation of Newman's work. I guess ever since then I always looked at all portraiture through the prism of his work and methods.
"Environmental portraiture" has been around for a long time but I guess he was the original master of the genre. The images of Igor Stravinsky sitting with his hand against his head, small compared to the black sillohuette of the open piano lid, and Piet Modrian standing next to his easel, a perfect reflection of his later work imeadiately came to mind upon hearing about his death.
Thousands have adopted his style and methods, meticulously try to copy his technical skill and have pushed the genre far enough that his work today is considered quite conservative and formal. But most of what we see today in contemporary portrait photography goes back to him.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"