Photographer Helmut Newton captured the essence of femininity from the 1950s to the 2000s. The rule breaker would have been 100 this past Saturday, on the 31st of October. It is our responsibility to pay tribute to a lifetime’s work devoted to eroticism.
Left: Helmut Newton, Elizabeth Taylor for Vanity Fair, Los Angeles 1989
Right: Helmut Newton, Iman for American Vogue, Hotel Negresco Nice 1989
Helmut was born in Berlin’s Schoenberg to a Jewish father and an American mother. He was interested in photography from an early age, but left Germany in 1938 to move to a safer temporary land: Australia. It is in this exile that Helmut will meet his wife June and reconnect himself with his artistic practice.
His hyper-sexualized style opened the doors of Playboy for him, before turning to provocative fashion photography. He would become the pioneer of a new genre, a barely veiled fetishism, and voyeuristic approach of powerful female bodies bowing to no man, that he photographed from every angle for the most cutting-edge magazines of the time, from Vogue to Vanity Fair. Newton’s masterful shots and fantasies give life to and served as early inspirations for the creations of Yves-Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, and Thierry Mugler.
Living in Paris then in Monte-Carlos, the Newton couple were at the heart of artistic life, intimately photographing such greats like Grace Jones and David Bowie, to the writer Francoise Sagan and the iconic Elizabeth Taylor, as well as making a number of supermodels household names, such as Iman and Jerry Hall.
His unique and controversial universe will become a strong identity of the 70s-80s fashion scenes. Helmut Newton died on January 23, 2004, in Los Angeles and was buried back in Berlin Schoenberg, where his life began, near what is now his eponymous foundation. To honor his legacy, the Helmut Newton Foundation has erected wall size images of some of his most iconic images, wrapping around the exterior of the brutalist Berlin landmark Kraftwerk, on display through 8 November.
To one lucky reader, we are giving away a collectors edition book of POLA WOMAN.
Share one of your favorite Helmut Newton photos and tag @fraeuleinmagazine and @helmutnewtonfoundation
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Left: Helmut Newton, Fashion by Yves Saint Laurent for French Vogue, Paris 1979
Right: Helmut Newton, June in the Kitchen, Paris 1972
Left: Helmut Newton, Portrait of Debra Winger, Los Angeles 1983
Right: Helmut Newton, Fashion by Thierry Mugler, Stern, Saint Tropez 1978
Left: Helmut Newton, American Vogue, October 1st 1973
Right: Helmut Newton, Chloé campaign, Los Angeles 1980
Text by Marien Brandon
Images Courtesy of the Helmut Newton Foundation