Big Nude III, Paris, 1980 (1982)
His Classic Portfolio is a collection of 10 iconic Newton images. Photographer Helmut Newton German, — is most famous for his work as a fashion photographer, frequently creating work for Vogue magazine, and for his provocative, studied photographs of nudes. Born to a Jewish family in Berlin in , Newton received his first camera at 12 years old, often neglecting his studies in school to pursue photography. It is reputed that Newton first became enamored with the female nude as a photographic subject as a teenager, while working as an apprentice to a theater photographer in Berlin. He later opened up a photography studio, and moved to Europe in the s. In Paris he began working for French Vogue, and later Playboy, Elle, and other publications during the s and s as his reputation grew, traveling frequently throughout the world on assignments. Newton challenged conventions, and created a provocative, hybrid photography that embraced fashion, erotica, portrait, and documentary elements, producing a highly stylized interpretation of elegant and decadent ways of life. Newton turned his attention to making powerful, confrontational nudes. He conceived witty, erotic picture stories for the American magazine Oui , and he gave his unique twist to the creation of pictures for Playboy.
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Self-Portrait with Wife and Models, ‘Vogue’ Studios, Paris (1981)
The book has now been reissued and was recently the subject of an exhibit at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. We take a closer look at three of his most iconic photographs. The story began in , when German publisher Benedikt Taschen commissioned Helmut Newton for a major project. In addition, the book was published with 10, signed copies, and each came with a Philippe Stark designed lectern. During the summer of , the photographer arrived at the villa with two models he planned to photograph. In this photo, model and actress Vibeke Knudsen poses in a Yves Saint Laurent suit for the pages of Vogue Paris, illuminated only by the streetlamps above. Once the solo shot was completed, Helmut Newton invited another model into to the frame, this one nude. His decision in this instance paved the way for his personal style to be featured alongside his editorial work. On one side, the Yves Saint Laurent woman, on the other the epitome of the Newton creativity. Walking women, Paris,
Helmut Newton photography is not easy to sum up, especially if we know that he did not only revolutionize but set up completely new rules of photographic style. The Helmut Newton photography is women-oriented, it empowers them and gives them the highest spot in the society. He has asserted them as the stronger sex and his passion and obsession with women led him to declare himself as a feminist. Newton photography is very specific. The famous photographer did not need to use too much equipment to create, he despised artificial lighting, he loved photographing in difficult light conditions — especially at night — and always strived to get the best of the light source he had, whether it was the sun, the street lights, or any other for that matter, all except studio lighting. He found the link between the family of natural sources and the man-made methods of creating astounding imagery he perfected for years. This practice was hard for the models as the longer shutter speed required them to stay still for longer, but it proved to be especially fruitful for his career, resulting in captivating images that many fashion photographers tried to recreate. He stayed away from the studios and was not a fan of white paper background and perfect lighting. In his own words:. A woman does not live in front of white paper.