A fascinating exhibition takes place in "House of Letters and Arts" (Στέγη Γραμμάτων και Τεχνών - Λεωφόρος Συγγρού 107-109). An exhibition of the photographer who redetermined the rules of fashion photography, Helmut Newton, takes place for the first time in Greece.
Inspired by this, I decided to make a post about Helmut Newton's life and work.
Helmut Neustädter, which is the real name of Helmut Newton, was born on 31 October 1920 in Berlin. His family was Jewish. Newton attended both German and American schools. Newton's proclivity for the unusual, particularly in sexual contexts, is attributed to his early years, when his older brother showed him the "red light" (prostitute) district of Berlin. This early exposure would later lead him to create photographic studies that altered the course of fashion photography.
In 1936, Newton left a floundering school career to apprentice under German photographer Else Neulander Simon (known professionally as Yva). Under political pressure, Else, also a Jew, was forced to close her studio, and in 1938, Newton himself fled Germany for Singapore. Here he worked briefly as a photographer for the Singapore Strait Times until he made another move, this time to Melbourne, Australia.
By the late 1950s, Newton's reputation as a photographer was growing. He left for London on assignment in 1959 and eventually landed in Paris in 1961. From this new locale, his work appeared nationally and internationally in such magazines as Elle, Marie Claire, Playboy and French Vogue. During this time Newton's photography style began to emerge as covertly sexual, even hinting occasionally at the fetishistic.
Throughout the 1960s Newton's celebrity status brought him increasingly exotic assignments. Then, following a heart attack in 1971, Newton's work took on new purpose. He began to openly explore sexual themes, rocking the photography world and capturing interest around the globe. Newton's wife, June, is said to have encouraged him in this new career course as he began to depict women in increasingly aggressive and sometimes menacing roles. The 1978 horror classic "The Eyes of Laura Mars" was influenced directly by Newton's work.
In his later life, Newton lived in both Monte Carlo and Los Angeles, California. He was in an accident on 23 January 2004, when his car sped out of control and hit a wall in the driveway of the Chateau Marmont which had for several years served as his residence in Southern California. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His ashes are buried next to Marlene Dietrich at the Städtischer Friedhof III in Berlin.
Newton was a prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications. As he said "I used to hate doing color. I hated transparency film. The way I did color was by not wanting to know what kind of film was in my camera".
Newton was not just a fashion photographer but a true artist with vision. His work introduced a new era liberated from constraints and limitations. "The point of my photography has always been to challenge myself, to go a little further than my Germanic discipline and Teutonic nature would traditionally permit me to".
You can find more information about the exhibition and tickets here.