Helmut Newton: The dark prince of fashion photography
March 28, 2012 Leave a comment
Helmut Newton, YSL, French Vogue, Rue Aubriot, Paris 1975 (dressed) © Helmut Newton Estate
Helmut Newton is one of my favourite photographers. His works are inspiring and never fails to energise my passion for fashion and the arts.
This is the first Helmut Newton retrospective in France after the internationally renowned photographer’s death in 2004. Quite surprisingly so, since Newton did a lot of shoots for French Vogue. Newton’s works have often been described as provocative, shocking and violent but one cannot deny that whichever mise-en-scène he used, he captured the beauty and eroticism within the world of fashion and art. Often using only the most basic camera equipment, Newton created haunting visuals set in an exaggerated world saturated with sex, glamour and violence. Perhaps not far from the truth, it is Newton’s take on the fashion industry. Newton once described the models in his photographs as “a commodity…paid to be made into what I want.”
The exhibition features more than 200 photographs, including Polaroid and prints in various sizes. Included in the exhibition is a film made by his wife June Newton, titled Helmut by June. An intimate portrayal of Newton that could only be made by his partner, Helmut by June presents Newton’s life as a photographer as seen through the lens of June, a painter and photographer. Executive producer of the film, Brett Ratner, said, “”Helmut did not only photograph his subjects…he directed them. As his partner in life and in art, June brings unique insight into his artistic process and deepens our understanding of this genius of 20th-century photography.”
The retrospective takes on a thematic approach. Through the major themes in his work: fashion, nudes, portraits, sex and humour, the exhibition shows that Newton was much more than a fashion photographer. His works experiment freely with themes and formats, and presents a unique vision of the contemporary female body. The exhibition does not stop at the female form but goes further into exploring the many and sometimes, secret fields of Newton’s work.
Exhibition runs through 24 March to 17 June 2012 at the Grand Palais, Galerie sud-est, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France.