Helmut Newton has always stood out to me. In fashion photography, an artist has to really have a style in order to make a name for themselves because there are just so many fashion photographers. If you don’t have a signature style, you’re going to get swallowed up in a sea. And with Helmut, it’s always been about a major signature. You can spot a Helmut Newton photograph anywhere. His direction, colors, atmosphere, and direction are always spelling out his name loudly.
For Christmas, my husband Jordan got me a book of his Polaroids. They are stunning. Chosen by Helmut’s wife, June Newton, these Polaroids were used as practice shots before shoots to test colors and technical issues. Thank goodness he kept them. He didn’t intend for these Polaroids to be displayed, but after his death in 2004, June decided to enlarge and present them for everyone to see. (She also used them as place cards for dinner parties.)
She writes: “He loved the little Polaroid camera. It told him what he wanted to know. He often brought home the day’s work of Polaroids to me, threw them down, and said, ‘What do you think?’, like Othello coming home with the spoils of wars to his Desdemona.”
Noooooooooo kidding. I would love those spoils.
Since both Polaroids and Helmut Newton are wonderful, the book was a perfect present. It’s amazing to see these practice shots simply because they’re practice shots, and still so gorgeous. His colors, the poses! The story that each photo contains. Not to even mention the incredible vintage clothes the models are wearing.
I could stare at these photos all day. Here are a few of my absolute favorites.