Turning 80 is not so bad when the occasion is marked by a sweeping retrospective of your life's work. An exhibition of 300 Helmut Newton photographs, curated by June Newton and Taschen's Manfred Heiting, opened on October 30th, 2000 at the National Gallery in Berlin. WORK is the immaculately published catalog of that exhibition. It features for the first time all aspects of Newton's oeuvre: carefully selected fashion and advertising photographs, nudes, portraits, montages and experiments. All together, photographs that span Newton's entire career as one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Embracing without reservation the somewhat menacing sexuality of strong women, Newton's work has a history of creating extreme discomfort, even outrage, in the viewer. Legs apart, breasts exposed or girded in erotically charged undergarments, these überwomen stare the viewer down and dare him or her to approach. Even in the notorious shot of a model wearing both riding boots and a saddle, Newton's women truly own their sexuality and that is a threatening stance to many. Knowing this about his work, celebrities allow themselves a more blatantly sexual persona in front of his camera than they might for any other photographer resulting in truly astonishing images of Sigourney Weaver, Catherine Deneuve, Elisabeth Shue and others.
WORK is the perfect book for those who coveted Taschen's record-breaking book of Newton's work, SUMO, but who could not meet its $2,500 price. WORK is SUMO for the rest of us.