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Berlin: Helmut Newton, the first three books


The Helmut Newton Foundation is presenting an exhibition in Berlin from June 2 through November 18 called“White Women / Sleepless Nights / Big Nudes” featuring three famous series by Helmut Newton (Berlin, 1920 – Los Angeles, 2004). This exhibition is more precisely dedicated to three of the photographer’s legendary publications unseen together during his lifetime. It was originally designed by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston where it was presented in 2011.
“White Women” was the first book published by Helmut Newton, 56 at the time. It was released in 1976 by the Munich based publishing house Schirmer/Mosel. With this astonishing and provocative black and white and color photographic series, Newton introduced the nude to fashion and revolutionized the industry. “White Women” won the Kodak Book Prize the year of its publication and has been reprinted numerous times since. Approximately 85 pictures from this series are featured in the exhibition.
“Sleepless Nights”, published two years later (1978) by the same publisher, gathers pictures taken by Newton with major hotels on the Mediterranean coast (Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropez, Capri), Los Angeles, Paris and New York as backdrops. 70 color and black and white pictures from the book are featured in the exhibition.
“Big Nudes” was released in 1981, a new work published again by Schirmer / Mosel that would have a major influence on Helmut Newton’s career and would be reprinted hundres of time and in multiple languages. From this black and white series, 15 prints were selected.
Some mythical images with a text, among them “Self-Portrait with Wife and Models” taken in the Vogue studios in Paris in 1981. June Newton, Helmut’s wife, was photographed sitting next to a mirror reflecting the photographer and his models. Asked about the shot, June Newton enjoys sharing her memories of the scene. She explains that they had lunch plans in Paris that day, but she was early. To wait, she was given a chair. During which time the photographer, Helmut Newton, had switched lenses, using a wider angle, turning June into a subject and not just a spectator. A symbolic picture, to discover or rediscover during this magnificent exhibition at the Helmut Newton Foundation.

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