Classic Portfolio by Helmut Newton

Classic Portfolio by Helmut Newton

Newton’s fashion and personal photographs are his most controversial creation. His photographs featured vignettes he staged, often of fraught moments heavy with overtones of voyeurism, fetishism, lesbianism, and sado-masochism, his women outraged some feminist viewers and satisfied others. His dramas stopped short of pornography, and most took place in European jet-set retreats. His black-and-white photographs combine the feel of 1930s noir photojournalism with aspects of New Wave films, reflecting his directorial mastery. Over the years, Newton’s work centred primarily on fashion, nudes, and portraits, with the three categories often mixing.

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.Portraits of celebrities became an evermore important aspect of Newton’s work, and while these were at first mostly related to the world of fashion, over the years he broadened his portfolio to include countless people who intrigued him-artists, actors, film directors, politicians, industrial magnates, the powerful and the charismatic from all spheres. Many of these photos were published through the 1980s in Vanity Fair.

Over the next twenty-five years he worked steadily and productively, publishing a series of books and creating countless exhibitions.Newton was highly sought after until the end of his life. He died of injuries from a car accident at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, California in 2004. Shortly before his death he had established the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, Germany, and donated approximately one thousand of his works to his native city.

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