Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton (Helmut Neustädter) was born into a Jewish family in October 1920, Berlin. This German-Australian photographer is best known for long prolific photography career, his erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of many fashion magazines for decades.


I have been interested in Newtons work since I saw the exhibit “Big Nudes” in Hamburg about 15 years ago. About 10 years ago I discovers a small publication of his advertising work for German ceramics manufacturer Villeroy & Boch, which rekindled my interest in his work.

Warning this blog contains images on a sexual nature

Newton became interested in photography at around the age of 12 (when he purchased his first camera). Latter he worked for the German photographer Elsie Neulander Simon (a.k.a Yva). As the Nazi’s started to take  over Germany his family lost the control of their factory and he was briefly interned in a concentration camp. After turning 18 he fled to South America with hundreds others escaping the Nazis. He intending to journey to China but on his arrival in Singapore he found he was able to remain there, he started working as a photographer for the Straits Times newspaper and then latter as a portrait photographer.

My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain. – Helmut Newton

September 1940 Newton was interned by British authorities (as a German citizen) while in Singapore, and was sent to Australia. After the war he became a British subject and changed his name surname to Newton. In 1948, he married actress June Browne, (stage name June Brunell.)

probably Newtons most well known photograph

By 1956 Newton had made a name for himself as a fashion photographer and in February 1957 moved to London to work for British Vogue but soon left for Paris, where he worked for French and German magazines. The 1960’s in Paris saw Newtons work boom his erotic style characterised by, stylised scenes, often with sadomasochistic and fetishist themes combined with eye-catching perspective and composition.

The first 10 000 shots are the worst. – Helmut Newton

In early 70’s Newton took ill suffered a heart-attack which slowed his photography down. But his wife was able to take over some of his workload and used ironic pseudonym Alice Springs (after the central Australian town).


Some of Helmut and June Newtons work

Look, I’m not an intellectual – I just take pictures. – Helmut Newton

The 80’s saw Helmut and June move from Paris to Monaco; they will spend the winter months in Los Angeles. Newton keep true to his passion of photography his whole life, publishing no less than 15 books, countless exhibitions and winning numerous awards.

Some how he seemed to scene the end was near in October 2003 he establishing the Helmut Newton Foundation and donated an extensive photo collection to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Berlin, Germany). In January 2004, when his car sped out of control and hit a wall in the driveway of his residence in Southern California, Netwon died latter in hospital of wounds sustained in the accident. His ashes are buried near Marlene Dietrich in the Berlin Städtischer Friedhof III

For more of his amazing works look for ….

  • Marshall Blonsky & Helmut Newton, Private Property, Schirmer Art Books, 1989
  • Guy Featherstone, ‘Helmut Newton’s Australian years’, in The La Trobe Journal, The State Library of Victoria Foundation, No 76, Spring, 2005
  • Klaus Honnef & Helmut Newton, Helmut Newton: Portraits, Schirmer Art Books, 1986
  • Helmut Newton, White Women, New York: Congreve, 1976
    • ISBN-10: 3829604424
    • ISBN-13: 978-3829604420
  • Helmut Newton, Sleepless Nights, New York: Congreve, 1978
    • ISBN-10: 3921375312
    • ISBN-13: 978-3921375310
  • Helmut Newton, Big Nudes, Paris: Editions du Regard, 1981
    • ISBN-10: 3829601395
    • ISBN-13: 978-3829601399
  • Helmut Newton, They’re Coming!Paris: French Vogue 1981
  • Helmut Newton, World Without Men, New York: Xavier Moreau, 1984
    • ISBN-10: 0937950130
    • ISBN-13: 978-0704324190
  • Helmut Newton & June Newton, Helmut Newton Work, edited by Manfred Heiting, Taschen, 2000
    • ISBN-10: 3822813265
    • ISBN-13: 978-3822813263
  • Helmut Newton, Sumo, Taschen, 2000
    • ISBN-10: 3836517302
    • ISBN-13: 978-3836517300
  • Helmut Newton, Autobiography, Nan A. Talese, 2003
    • ISBN-10: 3570006727
    • ISBN-13: 978-3570006726
  • Helmut Newton, A Gun for Hire, edited by June Newton, Taschen, 2005
    • ISBN-10: 3822846430
    • ISBN-13: 978-3822846438
  • Helmut Newton, Playboy:Helmut Newton, Chronicle Books (2005)
    • ISBN-10: 3829602189
    • ISBN-13: 978-3829602181



Special thanks to the Helmut Newton Foundation Berlin Germany.









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