Subversion and experimentation take new forms in the revitalization of Helmut Newton’s work at the Annenberg Space for Photography’s new exhibit, ‘White Women | Sleepless Nights | Big Nudes’. Surrounded by life-size prints of his photographs, visitors enjoy a documentary commissioned by the gallery entitled Provocateur ‘examining the legendary photographer’s impact on women, fashion, and art’ as depicted by those who knew him– amongst them photographers Mark Arbeit, George Hertz, and Just Loomis who assisted Newton during his career; wife June Newton; models, stylists, and subjects.
Many called his work pornographic; in response, Newton claimed that these people didn’t really know what pornography was. His work pushed the boundaries of what was considered ‘appropriate sexuality’ in fashion photography at the time, and years later, his highly-saturated and stark photographs still feel un-apologetically provocative. Not just a photographer, Newton was an arbiter for the sexual revolution, he lured his subjects to the edge of comfort and in return, earned a reputation for creating iconic imagery.
Info for the exhibition can be found here.
What I find interesting is working in a society with certain taboos…