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Helmut Newton

Newton was born on October 31, 1920, in Berlin, Germany. Son of wealthy Jewish factory owner, he attended the American School in Berlin. From an early age, Newton developed a keen obsession with photography, purchasing his very first camera aged 12. Four years later, Newton was to turn his back on mainstream education, taking an apprenticeship with renowned German photographer, Elsle Simon, known as Yva. Her surreal, multiple exposure photographs that took in fashion, theatre and the nude were to inspire Newton throughout his career.

On November 9, 1938, due to Hitler’s increasing persecution of the Jews, his family left Germany and fled to South America. Newton, instead, was secured passage to China, where he stopped in Singapore until 1940 before leaving to Australia and finding work as a truck driver in the Australian Army.

In 1948, he married actress June Browne, herself a photographer under the name of Alice Springs, a name she chose from a map of Australia. The two would form a lasting artistic duo- Browne art directed many of Newton’s shoots. High-profile contracts with Australian Vogue in the 1950’s; British Vogue in 1957-1958; French Vogue in 1961 provided Newton with the exposure that would allow him to stamp his style on fashion photography over the next 40 years.

Known as the ‘King of Kink’, Newton’s erotically charged imagery was provocative as it was masterful in its compositional and narrative direction. Creating highly charged images layered with voyeuristic, sado-masochist undertexts, Newton was drawn to empowered woman presenting a potent image of female sexuality in the 60’s and 70’s. Often working at night and known for his dislike for the studio, Newton championed Brassai’s street photography, borrowing from New Wave cinema and the surreal images of Man Ray and Eugène Atget. Along with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, his influence on future generations has been seismic- most notably in the work of Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller.

Newton’s work gained increasing prominence following his first one-man exhibition in Paris in 1975 which was quickly followed by his first book, White Woman; and then exhibitions in New York, Paris, London, Geneva, Los Angeles and Toyko through the rest of the 70’s.

Major retrospectives at the Berlin’s national Neue Galerie (2000), Barbican (2001), International Center of Photography, New York (2001) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2011), have now secured Newton’s reputation as one of the 20th centuries photographic masters. His auction record stands at $950,000.

Newton died, aged 83, in 2004 following a major car accident in Los Angeles. The Helmut Newton Foundation survives him.

Sie Kommen naked

[POA - picture is the actual photograph] Signed "Helmut" this silver gelatine vintage photograph is a rare opportunity...

Sie Kommen dressed

[POA - picture is the actual photograph] Signed "Helmut" this silver gelatine vintage photograph is a rare opportunity...

French Vogue

Typical of Helmut Newton's fashion pictures of that period, when he famously said that the best fashion pictures don't...


Catherine Deneuve

Helmut Newton's famous photograph of a haughty, sensuous almost aloof Catherine Deneuve. Catherine has been the...


Henrietta big nude

Henrietta Allias is probably best known as the cover picture on Sumo, Helmut Newton's famous, massive book. She was...


Gunilla wounded

One of Newton's many photographs of Gunilla Bergstrom, she is emerging from a room or hotel suite wearing...


American Playboy LA

Looking up at a man, of whom we can see only the naked arm and hand that's grabbing her jacket. Otherwise implicitly...


Jenny Kapitan Pension Dorain

Jenny Kapitan was a favourite model of Newtons at that time, in Berlin, and this was taken in his bedroom at the...


Raquel Welch Beverly Hills

Raquel Welch made her mark in movies as the strong female character rather than the submissive female lead typical in...


Elsa Peretti in a bunny costume 2

‘Elsa Peretti in Bunny Costume’ is a lasting image of the 1970’s. Newton shot this work in New York amongst the...


Andy Warhol Paris

A most unconventional portrait, Andy Warhol is alive but is positioned and laid out as if sleeping or even dead. This...


Jassara at Rue Aubriot

Wearing a sexually aggressive stare and fetish medical support, Jassara stares demonically at someone unseen. She...


Arielle after haircut

Arielle Burgelin, was one of Helmut Newton's favourite models, and was also the subject of "Arielle Monte Carlo...


Violetta at Baine-douches

Helmut Newton presents Violetta as both empowered and fetished. Nonchalantly holding a cigarette and eyeing the camera,...


Gunilla Bergstrom Eiffel Tower

One of Newton's most recognisable pictures, Gunilla Bergstrom is at her erotic best (see also e.g. Saddle). Newton...


Loris Azzaro with models

The Azzaro brand was created by its founder, Loris Azzaro. A Tunisian-born Sicilian who embodied the essence of sensual...


Ungaro for Nova

Published in the final year of Nova Magazine, Newton challenges the societal convention with this sexually charged shot...


Yves st Laurent for Queen

Helmut Newton shows his inclination for portraying powerful women, which was later to become a recurring theme. Here he...


David Bowie in Monte Carlo 1983

This iconic shot of Newton's great friend, David Bowie, is one he considered of his best and chose to include in his...


Charlotte Rampling at Hotel du Nord

Charlotte said this would be her last ever nude shoot, a promise that Newton would persuade her to break a number of...

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