Arnold Newman Lighting setup?
I am imbarking on a long project photographing Artists in their studio's. I really admire Arnold Newmans environmental portriture images, does anyone have any additional information about what lighting set ups he used?
I found this through google,
'Basic camera is a 4 x 5 view camera used on a tripod; Newman has purchased and used every size up to 8 x 10. In recent years he has shot with a srl 35mm. Prefers natural lighting; will use artificial light when necessary, mostly bounced floods. He rarely uses strobes.
Newman standardizes his developing and printing. He often only uses a portion of his negative. '
Newmans was a master. Your Google search pretty much nails it. But it overlooked the most important element of Newman's equipment - his heart and soul.
Copying masters is good for learning, but eventually you'll need to find your own voice.
Your portraits need to come from your heart and soul, not someone elses.
If you want to post a specific image, we could analyse it in more detail, but in general assume "Rembrandt" lighting, i.e a strongly diffused sidelight. If Newman used bounced floods (bounced off walls) this was only because floods with small reflectors were easier to carry (but unsuitable for direct lighting because of harsh shadows) and because softboxes only really came in with strobe lighting (softboxes or other cloth diffusers catch fire if they get too hot!).
You might find this of interest:
Arnold Newman photographs work well because he placed his subjects in the context of their lives. Part of that is more people skills than technical abilities. Early on in his career he did not own much gear, so the need to simplify and work with what he could carry to a location. The same thing applies to cropping, which he did often; when you don't have many lenses, then you tend to think more afterwards about editing.
Quite simply you could probably do well with one camera (perhaps a 4x5 to allow room for cropping), one lens, a small selection of films, and a few reflectors. Something like a large 40" by 60" 5-in1 reflector can allow you to accomplish a great deal of fill in lighting, or balancing light. Get some large spring clamps from a hardware store, and you can place reflectors nearly anywhere. Best of luck.
A G Studio
At one time I was privileged to sit in on a discussion with Arnold Newman. The discussion at one point turned to his lighting techniques. His statement as I remember it about 20 years later was to use as little artificial lighting as possible. If a reflector is enough to fill the shadows, that is the thing to use. If more is needed, keep it simple- use incandescent bulbs in 10 or 12" reflectors and learn how to feather them effectively. He had no use for flash.
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He shot a portrait of a woman -- I forget who -- reading a newspaper. The newspaper also served as a reflector, filling in the shadows under her chin...
Originally Posted by Jim Noel
Thank you all for your comments they all are really very interesting. I am going to try and use available light where possible. I have just purchased two 1000W halogen lights with softboxes which are fully adjustable and are 3200K. I hope these will come in handy in tricky light situations, also I want good DOF so some shots will be about 1 second and over which could be quite difficult for the sitter, I will have to learn to use them properly.
I have no deadlines at the moment for the images and the artists have let me come back to re-shoot, which i don’t suppose Newman had the luxury off with his magazine deadlines and all that. It is great getting to know such interesting characters and I although have found it quite hard work it is very rewarding.
Just out of interest and rather a rudimentary question but if i take a meter reading from both side of the face, one in shadow and the other not (i.e. from window light) How many stops to i have to play with to retain detail in the shadow rather than it just going black. I presume its about 1 to 2 but have never really got it down to a fine art!
Have attached a few examples of the type of work i have done in the past for those interested.
Last edited by Davec101; 01-24-2007 at 03:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.
David, Thanks for the offer, i will scan in a few of my favorite images that i am having trouble working out the lighting set-up and post them later. By Rembrant lighting do you mean like the image attached?
Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
The example you posted is certainly made with diffuse sidelight, very likely a window, since it is just possible, I think, to see the shadow of a window bar across the easel - that's the trouble with pesky daylight, unless a window faces due north there's always the chance of the sun coming out or going in when not wanted. In this picture, Newman seems to have relied on the light walls to fill in the shadows. "Rembrandt" lighting is of course nothing more than diffuse sidelight but often with a dark background so that the overall effect is a lot moodier. As Gordon Moat has observed, a reflector is a very handy thing - there are high-tech reflectors (Lastolite, etc.) which fold up into a 15" bag or so but open out to a good size. The 1000 W lamps you have bought sound pretty useful, as long as they have sufficient cooling to ensure that the softboxes don't catch fire and that the lamp bodies do not get too hot to handle! As you probably know, if you place identical lights so that one is 1.4x the distance from the subject that the other one is, you will get a 1-stop difference - twice the distance means 2 stops. You can also vary the lighting ratio even with one light and a reflector - the closer the lamp (in a key light position) and the further away the reflector, the higher the lighting ratio, and vice-versa.