Leisure & Culture #02

The Notably Seductive, Amusing and Entertaining Photographer of the Generation

Helmut Newton

Written by RMM

Frank Horvat, the famous photographer, started his interview with Helmut Newton in 1986 with this: "I think that if I had to explain Helmut Newton to someone who had never heard of him, the first thing I would say would be: 'He is the one who has turned the tables on the whole business.' You said it yourself, something like 'making the system work for you'."

Helmut Newton
(1920-2004) takes off the "clothing" set by conservative ideas and grants photographs with soul. His works even inspire the film and fashion industry.
Photo © British Vogue

Helmut Newton replied this with "Beating the system".

Helmut Newton is no stranger to the public with his talent. His photography, leaving us in awe and enchantment, was the pleasure and expertise he had been pursuing. He continuously challenged the concept that people used to have in fashion, culture and aesthetics until he died in a car crash on 23th June 2004, with his legendary life came to a screeching halt.

Just as how this venerated photographer said - "My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain" - his life story and works are still being widely circulated. People still put him on a pedestal, and he stays as influential as ever even 10 years after his death. In 2012, his works were exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris. The exhibition was the top event of the year. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Helmut Newton Foundation returns the 2012 Paris exhibition to Helmut Newton's homeland Germany, so that the public can now revisit the master's captivating photography.

"Crocodile Eating Ballerina" was a scene taken from Pina Bausch Ballet's performance, Die Keuschheitslegende (The Legend of Virginity), at Wuppertal theatre in 1983. It was also exhibited in "Year of Tibet Protfolio" at New York in 2006. Richard Gere and Bill Borden, on behalf of Gere Foundation, displayed 24 platinum-palladium printing. Several important photographers contributed to some of works displayed. Helmut Newton was one of them.
Photos © Christie's

Helmut Newton's 1970s photo shoot for YSL on the Rue Aubriot in Paris was used as the “Helmut Newton: Paris Berlin / Greg Gorman: Men” exhibition poster. This fashion photo shoot for Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking suit is another classic that leads females to break away from gender stereotypes.
Photo © Helmut Newton

The "Helmut Newton: Paris Berlin / Greg Gorman: Men" exhibition runs from November 2013 to 18th May 2014. More than 200 photographs by Helmut Newton are reappearing at the Museum für Fotografie (Museum of Photography) in Berlin, and it also features some of his photographs that have never been exhibited before. Most of the works are in black and white, including nude photography with voluptuous females, portraits of the famous, and his fashion shoots for Vogue. In "June's Room", which is at the other side of the venue, the exhibition also displays male nude photographs done by the American portrait photographer Greg Gorman from 1988 to 2012. Gorman's photography displays another bodily realism, allowing the mass to rethink and appreciate how the notable Helmut Newton and Greg Gorman explore the two sexes via the camera with differing avant-garde approaches.

Helmut Newton's iconic work "Rue Aubriot" with Yves Saint Laurent is also displayed in the exhibition. Viewers can see how daringly he dialogued with the androgyny in this classic photo back in the 1970s. If you have missed the exhibition at Grand Palais in 2012, this is an invaluably eye-opening experience that you mustn't miss!

Photography in colour also presents females as the central figure. Still photography like this manages to stir up an alternative viewing sensation.
Photo © Helmut Newton Estate

Greg Gorman's male nude photographs interestingly dialogue with Helmut Newton's female nude photographs, enhancing viewers to make sense of their perspectives through comparing and contrasting their works.
Photo © Berlin

Details for "Helmut Newton: Paris Berlin / Greg Gorman: Men":
Date: 2013.11.01 - 2014.05.18
Opening Hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm (Tuesday - Sunday), 10:00am - 8:00pm (Thursday)
Venue: Museum of Photography, Berlin
Entrance Fee: 10€ / 5€ (concessions)
For more details: Helmut Newton

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