Focus {Helmut Newton}

I went to a Helmut Newton exhibit when I was in L.A. this summer- it was such a cool retrospective of such a very distinctive photographer, I just have to share for this month's {Focus} feature.

Helmut was born in Berlin, Germany in 1920 into an affluent, liberal family. He bought his first camera at age 12 and as a teenager apprenticed with noted German photographer Else Simon. In 1938 Helmut and his family fled Germany, escaping the troubled war-torn Europe with Helmut eventually ending up and settling in Australia, gaining citizenship there in 1945. In Melbourne he set up his own photography studio and met his wife, actress June Browne. June played an integral part in Newton's career- she modelled for him, curated his exhibitions and edited his books. She also became a photographer herself, shooting under the pseudonym Alice Springs. During the 1950's, Helmut shot for British and Australian Vogue and then moved to Paris in 1961, where he joined French Vogue.

Renowned for his outrageous, bold and mythic fashion photography, Helmut Newton pushed the genre to record levels. His style was heavily inspired by film noir and his images are explicit and voyeuristic. Helmut's signature high contrast, glossy black and white photographs almost always feature elite statuesque models in heightened scenes of reality. His use of light is untraditional often shooting in direct sunlight or at night with street light, as well as the use of heavy flash and harsh shadow- the result is stunning and very strong. Helmut's photographs evoke both curiosity and fascination while at the same time portraying a range of contradictions and controversy. Amusing and stylish, go Helmut!!

You can read more about Helmut Newton here and here, and see more of his images here. Visit his facebook fan page for interesting updates.