Helmut Newton Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary with the exhibition “Berlin, Berlin”

vor 4 weeks

Discover the new exhibition at Helmut Newton Foundation: Through the life and work of legendary Berlin-born fashion photographer Helmut Newton and about 100 photographs of his contemporaries, Berlin is presented in a constant state of change and development.

It seems that Helmut Newton’s interest in photography started in his childhood; he bought his first camera at the age of 12. The current exhibition “Berlin, Berlin” at Helmut Newton Foundation opens with self-portraits and other photographs of a 16-year-old Newton.

In one of the images, he appears with pretty girls by the lake. Fascination for photography, beautiful women, and the water – all of those became the signature features of his works. The rare vintage prints of Yva, a renowned photographer who Newton trained with, are also included in the exhibit.

Helmut Newton, self-portrait in Yva's studio, Berlin, 1936, © Helmut Newton Foundation

Since the early 1960s, Newton was known as an international fashion photographer, and he undoubtedly influenced the generations working in this genre. Berlin and Newton also influenced each other. His unique aesthetic position was formed a lot during his shoots in Berlin for such magazines as Vogue Europe, Constanze, and Adam. In return, Newton’s photographs shaped how Berlin and German fashion were seen through his work. For example, his images in front of historical monuments like the Brandenburg Gate in the late 1950s became truly iconic.

Although some of his pictures got a lot of flak in the German press. For the 1963s Vogue cover, he made a story on Mata Hari, the notorious double agent executed by the French in WWI. The model on the cover stood near the Berlin Wall, which had just been constructed in 1961. A memorial plaque for one of the first people who died at the Wall was visible in one of the images. Because of that scandal, Newton returned to the city only in 1979. He was invited by the newly relaunched German Vogue for a story titled “Berlin, Berlin!”.

"Berlin and Newton influenced each other."

At the exhibition, the history of Berlin unfolds from the Golden Twenties through WWII, postwar reconstruction, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, reunification and the new millennium. Famous locations and historic events, as well as everyday scenes and their realities, are presented through the prism of other legendary photographers such as Jewgeni Chaldej, Hein Gorny, Arwed Messmer / Fritz Tiedemann, Will McBride, Arno Fischer, Arwed Messmer / Annett Gröschner etc.

The exhibition opened on the 7th of June 2024 and runs until the 16th of February 2025.

Words by Dao Tran

Image 1: German Vogue, Berlin 1979 © Helmut Newton Foundation

Image 2: F.C. Gundlach, Lissy Schaper in einem Ensemble von Schwichtenberg, Berlin 1961 © Stiftung F.C. Gundlach, Hamburg, Courtesy Collection de Gambs

Image 3: Helmut Newton, Jenny Capitain, Pension Florian, Berlin 1977 © Helmut Newton Foundation

Image 4: Barbara Klemm, Bruderkuss, Berlin 1979 © Barbara Klemm

Image 5: YVA, Strümpfe, Berlin, um 1935 © Privatsammlung Berlin

Image 6: Jewgeni Chaldej, Der Dichter Jewgeni Dolmatowski mit Trophäe beim Reichstag, Berlin 1945 © Sammlung Ernst Volland und Heinz Krimmer

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