Helmut Newton. Polaroids (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 25. Juli 2011
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Helmut Newton (1920-2004) was one of the most influential photographers of all time. Born in Berlin, he arrived in Australia in 1940 and married June Brunell (a.k.a. Alice Springs) eight years later. He first achieved international fame in the 1970's while working principally for "French""Vogue," and his celebrity and influence grew over the decades. Newton preferred to shoot in streets or interiors, rather than studios. Controversial scenarios, bold lighting, and striking compositions came to form his signature look. In 1990 he was awarded the "Grand Prix national de la photographie"; in 1992 the German government awarded him "Das Grosse ""Verdienstkreuz" for services to German culture, and he was appointed "Officier ""des Arts, Lettres et Sciences" by S.A.S. Princess Caroline of Monaco. In 1996, he was appointed "Commandeur de l'Ordre ""des Arts et des Lettres" by Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Minister of Culture at the time. Working and living in close companionship with his wife until his death at 83, his images remain as distinctive, seductive and orginal as ever.
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Once again, Taschen has published its usual first-class, ultra high-quality volume of 256 pages and most of Newton's fans will want to add this book to their collection of his quirky and erotic work.
Unfortunately, most of these Polaroid's aren't from his best photographic subject shoots. For example the only photograph from his major work SUMO is the Polaroid on page 4 (across from the preface) that shows Helmut dressed in a Northwestern sweat suit standing beside one of the giant photographs of nudes from the SUMO exhibition. The photo completely dwarfs him, but it works okay as a portrait of the photographer and his super-sized work.
His wife June says that Helmut brought the Polaroid's home each night to get her comments on his days work. Like most professional fashion photographers of the era Helmut used the Polaroid's to test his lighting set-ups, proper placement of the model's fashion and to see the over-all scene before capturing it on regular film.
June also said that she and Helmut often gave some of the one-of-a-kind Polaroid's away as place cards for dinner parties. "Some were sold to people who saw the value of them, some ended up in auctions. Many are still out there." That's probably the reason almost none of the Polaroid's of his most famous pictures are included in this Taschen collection. These appear to the culls of the original working collection.
One of the problems with Polaroid photos shot on a small camera intended for the general public--like the one shown over the semi-nude model's shoulder on the book cover--is that those early photos weren't very sharp and the color was not very accurate. There were no true reds and the closest color to red was dubbed "Polaroid orange." Some photographers of the era made a career out of making one-of-a-kind Polaroid images utilizing the strange and often bazaar color combinations of the medium. Most of the color Polaroid's in the book appear to have faded badly and the color wasn't that accurate when they were first taken. Some of the early black and white Polaroid's are simply fuzzy.
Many of the reproduced photos are too small to really see well. And in many cases when Helmut wanted to end up with a square format picture on his finished fashion photo, only about half of the Polaroid's rectangle format was used, thus making the picture area of each Polaroid photo even smaller and harder to see. This collection is most definitely like the sketch book of an artist, minus the best sketches.
For the avid Helmut Newton collector this is a necessary addition to their library, but like the tasty appetizer to a meal that promises much, the book is surprisingly unsatisfying.
The cover photo definitely one of the best photos in the book by the way.