Helmut Newton (born Helmut Neustädter) was one of the more well known photographers of his times whose provocative black and white photos were a regular fixture of fashion magazines such as Vogue and other publications. Considered as one of the greatest figures of 20th century photography, his photographs changed the way fashion photography was perceived. Born in Berlin, Germany to a Jewish family whose business was in producing buttons, Helmut never did look like he was going to take over the family business which was probably for the better as the increasingly oppressive restrictions placed on Jews by the Nuremberg laws meant that his father lost control of the factory. He bought his first camera at the age of 12 and his burning interest in photography saw him take up an apprenticeship under the German photographer Yva (Elsie Neulander Simon) whom many argued was instrumental in laying the foundation for Helmut’s photography career.
He fled Germany after it became increasingly clear that he wouldn’t survive very long under the Nazis’ cruel regime. Intending to travel to China, he ended up in Singapore where he worked briefly as a photographer for a paper and then a portrait photographer. He eventually became a British subject and set up his first studio in Melbourne, where he shared his first joint exhibition in May 1953 with Wolfgang Sievers who was a German refugee like himself. His work eventually caught the eye of Vogue and he moved to London to shoot for them. He finally settled in Paris in 1961 and by then his portfolio included publications like Harper’s Bazaar, French Vogue, Yves Saint Laurent, and Versace.
This year sees the Helmut Newton Stiftung Foundation bring some of the photographer’s most creative works to Budapest. The 250 photographs reflect the key creative periods in the career of this world-famous artist, giving us an insight into the important periods of Newton’s career through three significant albums. The portfolio Private Property containing 45 black and white shots includes the best fashion, portrait and nude photos of the period between 1972–1983. Newton published in his journal, in the four-volume Helmut Newton’s Illustrated, provocative nudes from 1985 until 1995. Fashion and advertising photographs between 1983-2003 appeared in the album Gun For Hire, taken for the biggest fashion houses (Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Vouge).
*Some images may be sexual in nature, parental guidance is advised.
HELMUT NEWTON 1920 – 2004
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