Arny Werner's Photographs
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by Arny Werner
I love to take pictures. I was 12 years old when I snapped, developed and printed pictures I took for the first time. My encouraging and supportive parents gave me a very good camera for my 14th birthday. It came with a tolerant sharing of the hallway and bathroom of our small Brooklyn apartment. That was my darkroom. Photography became part of my life during the time I was at Madison.
Thousands of pictures later, during a nostalgic review of my photographs I found myself lingering over the images of people. They were my favorites. The obvious struck me. I have always enjoyed talking with people. My professional career has been as a psychiatrist. I like people, so I take pictures of people. When my career allowed me to spend more time doing photography, I devoted myself to portraiture.
Every model is unique and every portrait is different. The work is always personal. An image represents only a moment, but in that moment there is a story. Who are these people, what are they thinking, what are they doing, what are they telling us about themselves and what are they allowing us to see?
In my work with models I try to create interesting images that show aspects of themselves that they would like to see and show others. A good portrait requires cooperation between the photographer and subject, direction from the photographer and engagement of the imaginations of the photographer, subject and viewer. Talking with the subject is essential to the process of portraiture; being a psychiatrist helps. I do some non-portraits too, and have included a photo of an abandoned factory.
Although I wrote a syndicated newspaper column that appeared in college newspapers for a number of years, I never managed to combine journalism with photography. Some of my photography has been published as cover photos in a prominent medical journal, a couple have appeared within journals, and one of my portraits appeared in the New York Times.