Newton, Helmut 1920-2004

views updated

NEWTON, Helmut 1920-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born October 31, 1920, in Berlin, Germany; died after a car accident, January 23, 2004, in Hollywood, CA. Photographer and author. Known for his often dark, erotic photos and contributions to magazines such as Playboy and Vogue, Newton was a renowned fashion photographer whose photos were often considered shocking. Born Helmut Neustaedter to well-to-do Jewish parents in Germany, he was preoccupied with photography and women from an early age, dropping out of school at the age of sixteen to become a photographer's apprentice. With the rise to power of the Nazis, he and his family fled the country, although his parents moved to South America while he ended up in Singapore. While there he earned money taking pictures and, for a time, living with an older women in a situation that he felt qualified him as a gigolo. Newton soon moved again, this time to Australia, where he enlisted in the army during the war. After World War II, he changed his name to Newton, opened a photography business, and began contributing to the Australian edition of Vogue. Moving back to Europe in 1961, he continued to freelance for Vogue's English, French, and American editions. He became well-known for his erotic photos of nude and semi-nude women posing in settings ranging from the elegant to the sordid and trashy. At times, his models would wear sadomasochistic accoutrements such as spiked dog collars. His style became quite renowned, and eventually Newton's photographs commanded prices ranging from $80,000 to $200,000. He held exhibitions in galleries and museums, collecting his work in a number of books, including White Women (1976), Big Nudes (1981), Immorale (1993), and Helmut Newton's SUMO (2000). The winner of prizes from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Art Directors Club, Newton was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. His memoirs, Helmut Newton Autobiography, were published in 2003.



Chicago Tribune, January 25, 2004, section 4, p. 7.

Independent (London, England), January 26, 2004, p. 18.

Los Angeles Times, January 24, 2004, p. B23.

New York Times, January 24, 2004, p. A12.

Times (London, England), January 26, 2004.

Washington Post, January 24, 2004, p. B8.