Newton, Helmut

▪ 2005
Helmut Neustädter 
      German-born fashion photographer (b. Oct. 31, 1920, Berlin, Ger.—d. Jan. 23, 2004, Los Angeles, Calif.), revolutionized his field by introducing the element of danger and the transgressive with his sexy, fetishistic photographs. Each shot implied a story behind it, usually ambiguous, sometimes violent, and always sexually charged, while his models—chiefly tall, cool, blonde women—were often clad in little or nothing but stiletto heels. Newton, who was born into a wealthy Jewish family in the often decadent Weimar Republic, fled Nazi Germany with his parents in 1938. The 18-year-old chose to seek his fortune in Singapore, but he was interned as an enemy alien and sent to Australia. He served in the Australian army from 1940 to 1945 and settled in Sydney after the war. In 1948 he married Australian model and actress June Brunell, who became his collaborator and colleague. In 1956 the Newtons moved to London, and a year later they moved to Paris, where he found work with high-fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Marie-Claire. By the 1970s he had gained an international reputation. Although some critics denounced Newton's work as near pornography, his popularity did not diminish as he aged, and his provocative photographs were in demand up until the time of his death in a car accident.

▪ 2002

      A larger-than-life nude photograph of a statuesque female model overshadowed the entrance to the spring show at the Barbican Gallery in London in 2001. It was one of 200 images by German-born fashion photographer Helmut Newton, shown on the occasion of his 80th birthday, and it loomed large over visitors to the exhibit, which had previously been mounted at the New National Gallery in Berlin. Similarly, the retrospective proved that Newton himself loomed large; he had cast a shadow over the field of fashion photography since the 1960s and had influenced scores of camera buffs and advertising campaigns with his provocative photos, which explored the eroticism of glamour. Sex and power were constant themes in his work, with hints of violence and fetish that earned his cold, sophisticated photos the label “porno-chic.”

      Newton was born on Oct. 31, 1920, in Berlin to well-to-do Jewish parents. He came of age during the bourgeois decadence of Berlin society in the 1930s. As a teenager, Newton took up photography and set up homemade fashion shoots. Dropping out of school at age 16, he became apprenticed to the fashion photographer Yva (Else Simon). In 1938, when his family fled the Nazi regime and moved to South America, Newton went his separate way, eventually settling in Australia, where in 1947 he became a citizen. The following year he married June Browne, who later would also find success as a photographer under the name Alice Springs. Initially, Newton struggled as a freelance in Melbourne, but by the late 1950s he was working primarily for high-fashion magazines in Paris, where he lived from 1961 to 1981.

      Newton made his name on the pages of Vogue, Elle, Marie-Claire, Jardin des modes, Stern, and Nova, with carefully composed voyeuristic images known for their staged fin de siècle settings and sexually charged content. The shock of a heart attack in 1971 caused him to reassess his career, and from that point forward he began exercising greater creative control over his shoots, helping to establish French Vogue as the height of fashion photography in the 1970s. Sometimes controversial, his sensationalistic images prompted attacks from feminists as well as from disparaging art critics when his work began appearing in museums. In 1981 he moved to Monte-Carlo and began photographing nudes; his oversized images appeared in the book Big Nudes (1982). Newton was also sought after for his celebrity poses, which were collected in Portraits (1987). Other published works included White Women (1976), Sleepless Nights (1978), World Without Men (1984), and SUMO (2000), a massive 480-page tome, which at 50 × 70 cm (20 × 27.5 in) and 30 kg (66 lb) was less a coffee-table book than a coffee table itself.

Tom Michael

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Newton, Helmut — (1920 2004)    This photographer was born Helmet Neustädter in Berlin, son to a Jewish garment factory owner and an American mother. Newton was schooled at Werner von Trotschke Gymnasium and the American School in Berlin. His interest in… …   Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

  • Newton, Helmut — (31.10.1920 23.1.2004) Australischer Fotograf deutscher Herkunft, emigrierte 1938 über Südostasien nach Australien. Helmut Newton arbeitete nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg als Mode , Werbe , Portrait und Aktfotograf. Gerade seine unverwechselbaren… …   Das Lexikon aus „Bernie's Foto-Programm"

  • Newton, Helmut — pseud. di Neustaedter, Helmut …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Helmut Newton — Helmut Newton, born Helmut Neustädter (October 31, 1920, Berlin, Germany ndash; January 23, 2004, West Hollywood, California, USA) was a German Australian fashion photographer noted for his nude studies of women. Born in Schoneberg, Berlin, to a… …   Wikipedia

  • Helmut Newton — Helmut Newtons Grabstein in Berlin …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Helmut Newton Stiftung — Helmut Newtons Grabstein in Berlin Helmut Newton [ˈnjuːtn̩] (* 31. Oktober 1920 in Berlin; † 23. Januar 2004 in Los Angeles; ursprünglich Helmut Neustädter) war ein australischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Helmut Newton — Tumba de Helmut Newton. Nombre de nacimiento Helmut Neustädter Nacimiento 31 de oct …   Wikipedia Español

  • Helmut Newton — Helmut Neustädter (31 de octubre de 1920 23 de enero de 2004) fue uno de los fotógrafos más importantes del siglo XX. Crea un nuevo estilo propio en sus fotografías, que están repletas de glamour, desnudos femeninos con tacones altos de aguja …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Helmut Newton — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Newton. Tombe de Helmut Newton. Helmut Newton (né Helmut Neustädter, 31 octobre 1920 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • NEWTON (Neustaedter), HELMUT — (1921–2004), fashion photographer. Born in Berlin to a well to do German Jewish family, Newton became a widely imitated fashion photographer after his provocative, erotically charged photographs became a mainstay of Vogue and other publications.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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