One of the most important and controversial figures in the history of photography is celebrated in a new book and exhibition.
Zebra One Gallery is curating a powerful retrospective of his most striking, influential and rare images.Helmut Newton: 100 Years will launch at the Hampstead Gallery on October 31, with a new edition of publisher Taschen’s Sumo, its book of Newton’s work, released to mark the centenary of his birth.
The widely imitated fashion photographer was known for his erotically charged, black and white vignettes, often with voyeuristic and fetishistic undertones, which were the cornerstone of fashion bibles like Vogue.Highlights of the show include a candid shot of a young Jerry Hall, as well as two portraits of David Bowie, taken in Monte Carlo for Vogue before Let’s Dance catapulted him to new levels of fame. It will also include his iconic Naked and Dressed series, featuring two almost identical images of four models - in one image, the women are all naked and in the other, they are dressed in couture 1980s fashion.
The exhibition will also feature one of the most famous fashion photographs of all time, Rue Aubriot. The haunting image shows androgynous model Vibeke Knudsen standing alone in a Parisian, lamplit street in 1976, wearing an intentionally masculine Yves Saint Laurent dinner jacket, pin-striped wide-leg trousers and white tie.
Part of Helmut Newtons Naked and Dressed series, featuring two almost images of four models - in one image, the women are all naked and in the other, they are dressed in couture 1980s fashion
Newton revolutionised the depiction of female sexuality and desire, reversing gender stereotypes and showing women as strong and powerful. Stars including Michelle Pfeiffer, Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Rampling queued up to be photographed by him.
The prolific German-Australian photographer’s work centred primarily on nudes, fashion and portraits, which challenged conventions with highly-stylised, edgy interpretations of decadent and sexual worlds, which were heavily inspired by film noir.
Newton explained: “With haute couture collections, you couldn’t get the clothes during the day when customers were looking at them. So everything was done at night.
“I like working at night. And I don’t use a flash. I use the actual street lighting.”
His most celebrated work was made during the 1970s, when he photographed the most celebrated models of the day in top designers’ clothes for the biggest magazines.
Newton died in 2004. The exhibition opens on what would have been his 100th birthday. See www.zebraonegallery.com for more.