There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. We know that’s impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants.
I think photography is a matter of controlling what’s in front of you and making it do your will. This, of course, implies absolute mastery over camera, medium, techniques, and the ability to work with the subject and get him willingly and happily without any self-conscious feeling to fall into those things which are natural to him.
This is a very complicated thing to do in portraiture. Mine are deliberately self-conscious portraits and therefore contain no forced feeling of candidness… the subject is unaware of the fact that I am waiting – things begin to happen – the man begins to reveal himself.”
“If the background becomes overwhelming and you lose the personality, then I have not made a good portrait and it is not a good picture. I think the world is full of intelligent people who are not really trying to be flattered; what they really want is to be understood”.
“The more I get to know my subject the more he gets to know me, and so often the pictures taken at the end of a sitting are much better both creatively and interpretively… A photographer is always in a state of preparing himself for a given moment… we have only an instant in which to think and act.
– Arnold Newman