Helmut Newton. Legacy
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Spanning more than five decades, the work of Helmut Newton (1920–2004) defies categorization. His photographic oeuvre is not only unique, but virtually unparalleled in scope, reaching millions through magazines like Vogue and Elle. Helmut Newton. Legacy showcases highlights and rediscovered images from one of the most published bodies of work in photography. A genuine visionary, this book celebrates Newton’s lasting influence on visual art to this day.
A Lasting Legacy. Helmut Newton’s prolific body of work
Virtually unparalleled in scope and spanning more than five decades, the photography of visionary Helmut Newton (1920–2004) reached millions through publication in magazines like Vogue and Elle. His oeuvre transcended genres, bringing elegance, style, and voyeurism to fashion, portrait, and glamour photography through a body of work that remains as inimitable as it is unrivaled. Having mastered the art of fashion photography early in his career, Newton’s shoots invariably went beyond standard practice, blurring the lines between reality and illusion. Newton’s clear aesthetic pervades all areas of his work, particularly fashion, portraiture, and nude photography. Women take center stage – with subjects such as Catherine Deneuve, Liz Taylor, and Charlotte Rampling. Moving beyond traditional narrative approaches, Newton’s fashion photography is imbued not only with luxurious elegance and subtle seduction, but also cultural references and a surprising sense of humor.
During the 1990s, Newton shot for the German, American, Italian, French, and Russian editions of Vogue, primarily in and around Monte Carlo where he was living from 1981 onwards. Transforming locations like his own garage into starkly contrasting or particularly minimalist theatrical stages, Newton would often portray the eccentric lives of the beautiful and rich, full of eroticism and elegance, in unconventional scenarios. He made use of and simultaneously questioned visual clichés, at times tinged with self-irony or mockery, but always full of empathy.
Helmut Newton. Legacy, which accompanies an international exhibition tour of Newton’s work, showcases highlights from one of the most published bodies of work in photography, including numerous rediscovered images. A prolific image maker and genuine visionary, this book celebrates Newton’s lasting influence on modern photography and visual art to this day.
The exhibition HELMUT NEWTON. LEGACY will be on view at the Helmut Newton Foundation, Jebensstraße 2, 10623 Berlin from October 31, 2021 to May 22, 2022.
Helmut Newton (1920–2004) was one of the most influential photographers of all time. He first achieved international fame in the 1970s while working principally for French Vogue, where he became celebrated for his controversial scenarios. Most striking was his ability to make a throughly planned photograph seem fresh and dynamic. His many titles and awards included Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
The editor and author:
Matthias Harder studied Art History, Classical Archaeology and Philosophy in Kiel and Berlin. He is a member of the German Society of Photography and an advisory council member of the European Month of Photography. Head curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin from 2004, and also its director from 2019, he has written numerous articles for books and exhibition catalogues.
The contributing author:
Philippe Garner is an expert in 20th-century photography, design, and decorative art. He has written numerous essays and books, from studies of the lives of designer Émile Gallé and photographers Cecil Beaton and John Cowan, to his Sixties Design for TASCHEN. A former director of Christie’s, he has also curated shows for museums in London, Paris, and Tokyo.