Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

by Photo Life

Newton worked around the globe, from Singapore to Australia to Paris to Los Angeles, but Weimar Germany was the visual hallmark of his work. Newton’s unique and striking way of depicting women has always posed the question: did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects?

One of the great masters of photography, Helmut Newton made a name for himself exploring the female form, and his cult status continues long after his tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash in 2004.

“Growing up, I was surrounded by Nazi imagery, like everybody in Germany, and for a boy obsessed with photography it left an indelible impression on me. Later this influence was tempered by Brassaï and Dr. Erich Salomon. My love of photography at night started with m early experience of … the Brelin undergrund stations. Even today I love photographing by the light of street lamps or in the glare of my flash.”
— Helmut Newton, American Photo (January/February 2000)

Through candid interviews with Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer, Marianne Faithfull, Hanna Schygulla, Nadja Auermann, and Newton’s wife June (a.k.a. photographer Alice Springs), this documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life’s work – creating provocative and subversive images of women.

The film also features Newton’s own home movies, archival footage (including a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag) and, of course, scores of iconic Newton photographs. The result: a wildly entertaining portrait of a controversial genius.

The 93-minute documentary by Gero von Boehm will be available in DVD and digital on September 29.

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