Right off the bat, you'll notice I used "is" and not "was"...that's because Arnold has one of those huge personalities. His passion for photography, spending time with other photographers and simply being an artist is unmatched. So, while Arnold may have left us, legendary personalities stay with us forever.
I first met Arnold in my Hasselblad days. He used to come to all the conventions and that's where the friendship started. In January '96 he sent me a copy of his book, "On the Other Side of the Camera". It's a pretty remarkable body of work as Arnold set out to "memorialize and honour my friends - both living and sadly gone from our world."
From Man Ray to Ansel Adams, Robert Frank to Bernice Abbott, Lee Friedlander, Minor White, Arnold Newman and Gary Winogrand, just to name a few, Arnold documented time with all of these legendary artists. He did what no other artist in photography has done, spend the time to document many of the stories and personalities behind the pioneers in photography who built the foundation for imaging today.
In the foreword of Arnold's book, Graham Nash wrote:
...What a daunting task it is to photograph a photographer...My friend Arnold Crane has taken upon himself this difficult assignment with dignity and humor. For several decades he has been acquainted with the finest photographers in the world, individuals who have taught us new ways of seeing and who have brought us closer to one another by revealing to us our common humanity...Much as been written about the men and women whose faces grace these pages. Now we have a remarkable window into their souls. With this exceptional book, Arnold Crane has greatly expanded our insight into the vision and the art of some of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century."
Along with Arnold's incredible enthusiasm for the craft and photographers, his passion for his friendships was also at the top of the list. Every time I'd see Arnold it was as if the last conversation just ended in a comma and we'd take up wherever we left off. I guess this is a good spot to segue over to one last point.
There's so much we all take for granted and I'm no exception. Arnold and his wife, Cynthia, moved to Sarasota two years ago. As snow birds they'd hit Sarasota in the late fall and head back north in the spring. We got out to dinner with them a couple of times that first year and then missed the second altogether. A few emails over the last year and I figured as soon as they were back down here I'd get time in with Arnold once more. Obviously that can no longer happen.
Don't wait to tell people important to you how you feel. It takes a certain amount of effort, but it's so worth it. I hate the fact that it's been over a year since I spoke directly with Arnold, but at the same time, I'm so proud of the fact that he's a friend and even more proud that he considered me one.
The image I used in this post was taken by Bob Coates, another good friend and buddy. In the same way Graham Nash talked about Arnold giving us a look into the souls of some of the greatest photographers in the world, I love the fact that Bob's image definitely captures Arnold and gives us a look into his soul.
Arnold, thank you for all you gave our industry, your enthusiasm, love for photography and friendships to so many artists. You will definitely be missed!