Thursday, July 03, 2008

Is this the Face of Evil?

I am convinced that any photographic attempt to show the complete man is nonsense. We can only show, as best we can, what the outer man reveals. The inner man is seldom revealed to anyone, sometimes not even the man himself. - Arnold Newman, photographer ~(1918-2006)

The New York Times Magazine has posted a "preview" of their Sunday cover piece on conservative talk-mesiter Rush Limbaugh.

There's lots of buzz surrounding the piece in media circles.

The piece alone would have generated an inordinate amount of discussion on any given week.

But that's been magnified ten-fold by the news yesterday that Limbaugh has signed an 8 year, $400 million deal with Premiere Radio Networks. Oh, I almost forgot, he also got a $100 million "signing bonus."

I haven't read the entire piece yet but I was intrigued by the cover photo shot by British photographer Nigel Parry.

As soon as I saw it I was immediately reminded of a portrait of German industrialist Alfred Krupp shot by the late Arnold Newman.

Newman was sent to Germany in 1963 by Newsweek magazine to photograph Krupp.

Krupp used slave labor in his factories during WWII. Some of his factories were within walking distance of Nazi death camps.

Newman, who was Jewish, was at first repulsed by the fact that he'd been given the assignment to photograph a monster.

But once in Germany, Newman set out to show Krupp at his most evil and ghoulish, using intricate lighting. He allowed the factory's fluorescent lights to give Krupp's skin a greenish cast.

The picture of Krupp is one of Newman's more famous photographs and some have called it the "personification of evil."

After the picture was published Krupp said he would have Newman declared persona non grata in Germany.

I'm not sure what Nigel Parry had on his mind when he set out to photograph Limbaugh, but I am sure the resulting photograph is exactly what he intended.

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