Helmut Newton - Opening Reception [MAY 4th EVENT]
Helmut Newton is an artist who really needs no introduction and his story is one for the ages, from spending time in an Australian internment camp in 1940 to dizzying heights as one of the most sought after and imitated photographers on the planet to his untimely and accidental death in a car accident leaving the chateau marmont in Hollywood in 2004 every piece of Newton’s story verges on the almost unbelievable.
Newton was born on October 31, 1920, in Berlin, Germany. Son of wealthy Jewish factory owner, he attended the American School in Berlin. From an early age, Newton developed a keen obsession with photography, purchasing his very first camera aged 12. Four years later, Newton was to turn his back on mainstream education, taking an apprenticeship with renowned German photographer, Elsle Simon, known as Yva. Her surreal, multiple exposure photographs that took in fashion, theatre and the nude were to inspire Newton throughout his career.
On November 9, 1938, due to Hitler’s increasing persecution of the Jews, Newton, was secured passage to China, where he stopped in Singapore until 1940 before leaving to Australia and finding work in the Australian Army.
In 1948, he married actress June Browne, herself a photographer under the name of Alice Springs, a name she chose from a map of Australia. The two would form a lasting artistic duo- Browne art directed many of Newton’s shoots. High-profile contracts with Australian Vogue in the 1950’s; British Vogue in 1957-1958; French Vogue in 1961 provided Newton with the exposure that would allow him to stamp his style on fashion photography over the next 40 years. Vogue’s U.S. editor-in-chief Anna Wintour once described his work as “synonymous with Vogue at its most glamorous and mythic.”
Dubbed the “King of Kink”, Newton’s erotically charged imagery was provocative as it was masterful in its compositional and narrative direction. Creating highly charged images layered with voyeuristic, sado-masochist undertexts, Newton was drawn to empowered woman presenting a potent image of female sexuality in the 60’s and 70’s.
Often working at night and known for his dislike for the studio, Newton preferred to shoot in streets or interiors, rather than studios. Newton championed Brassai’s street photography, borrowing from New Wave cinema and the surreal images of Man Ray
and Eugène Atget. Along with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, his influence on future generations has been seismic- most notably in the work of Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller.
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