Alfred Krupp by Arnold Newman

newman krupp

Alfred Krupp by Arnold Newman

This image is of Alfred Krupp who was not a military man but an industrialist who ran war factories manufacturing arms for the Nazi assault on Europe. Krupp gained notoriety for his insistence on using slave labour from the internment camps, where the prisoners of war were literarily worked to death. Even the Nazi’s suggested that Krupp use free German workers rather than slaves but Krupp insisted on exploiting these captives. Naturally the majority of the men and boys who perished were Jewish and Krupp holds a particular place of hatred amongst its people.

The fact this image was even taken is quite surprising when you learn that the photographer was a Jewish Man named Arnold Newman. Originally Newman did not want to take the picture but after a while he decided to do it. Newman had a platform specifically erected in order to place Krupp against an industrial backdrop and he knew exactly the kind of image he had in mind. The positioning of Krupp is vital, by placing him in this elevated position is declaring that he is the highest authority within these premises, that he is master of all he surveys and ultimately the man responsible for all that happens or has happened. Coupled with the knowledge of the atrocities that occurred within those factory walls and the clever use of positioning the model and the lighting and Krupp is revealed as a pitiless and brutal overseer answerable for so many deaths.

When composing the shot he asked Krupp to lean forward slightly, when he did he clasped his fingers together under his chin. The light hit the face perfectly and when Newman saw this effect he said in his own words ‘That he felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck’. He grabbed the shot which became one of Newman’s most iconic images. When Krupp saw the picture he was said to have been furious and for Newman this was a little bit of revenge.

You have to admire Newman’s ability with this picture. He has quite incredibly communicated so much about the content and meaning that even without any prior knowledge it is possible to speculate accurately regarding the images content and meaning.

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