It has been a long time since I wrote about an exhibition. In fact, it’s been a very long time since I last saw an exhibition. And how could I imagine that the first one I would go to in 3 months would hit me that much…?
Helmut Newton. Born in Berlin in 1920. Became Australian citizen
in 1946. Became photographer for British Vogue in 1956, then Vogue Australia, same year. For Vogue France, in 1961. Became « Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres » in 1996. When did he become a genius ? I don’t know. Was he born a genius ? Probably.
Under the name of Icônes, some of his photographs are currently exposed at the Musée de la Photographie in Nice, until the 28th of May. Fashion and erotic photography mostly, nudes, women – a lot – but celebrities also (Andy Warhol, avid Bowie, Catherine Deneuve…).
The kind of fashion photography I love to see in women’s magazines. Provocative, powerful, overflowing with charm and passion, chic, class and originality. I had a big crush on it.
« My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain. » – Helmut Newton.
What surprised me the most is that in the biggest part of his photographs, even though the subjects take poses at the behest of Newton, the whole set seems so natural, it’s almost disturbing. When we see his pictures, it feels like it’s the subject who chose his/her pose, his/her pout, his/her expression. Then the uncomfortable atmosphere of the erotic photographs seem to disappear completely.
An icon, photographing icons doing iconic things, taking iconic poses, that’s what Helmut Newton is.