Helmut Newton: Work
is the companion piece to the fashion photographer's retrospective that premiered at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin in October 2000 and moved on to London's Barbican in May 2001. A celebration of Newton's 80th birthday, Work
brings together the entire ouevre of the master--stunning portraits from such seminal volumes as Big Nudes
--as well as many distinguished commissions for Vogue
and Vanity Fair
among other publications. Newton's name is synonymous with fetishism, power, voyeurism--and the controversy that comes with tackling such "taboo" subjects. It's hard to believe that up until 20 years or so ago Newton was just another glossy fashion photographer--albeit a witty and wry one--today his statuesque, expressionless women, beyond boldness in their flagrant nudity, ensure his place in portrait history. It isn't just about naked women of course, though it is hard to forget their chiselled, high-glossed bodies, whether splayed between the jaws of a crocodile, trussed up invitingly (though never demurely or coyly--these images are about the ferocity of the subject as much as the power of the lens) in a saddle and burnished boots, a new take on the classic 1970s YSL trouser suit or, in the case of Newton's own wife, June, displaying more than a hint of decolletage over the remains of dinner. Perhaps the most arresting photograph in Work
is that of nonagenarian Leni Riefenstahl scrupulously applying powder to her wizened face--Riefenstahl, whose 1930s images of youth and power are in many ways (but for obviously different reasons) as uneasy on the eye as Newton's own collection.--Catherine Taylor
This exhibition catalogue presents a retrospective of Helmet Newton's life and works, covering over 300 images including his record breaking publication, "Sumo". The exhibition celebrates the photographer's 80th birthday, on the 30th October 2000, in the New National Gallery in Berlin.