From June 17 till September 4, 2016, the photography museum Foam in Amsterdam is hosting the exhibition Helmut Newton: a retrospective. Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend the press preview. I was overthrown and intrigued. This is a must-see! Helmut Newton is a legendary, and iconic photographer, whose work shaped and influenced the art of photography since the early 1950s. The exhibition consists of over 200 photos, varying from famous iconic prints to never before seen photos. His work is renowned for portraying powerful and seductive women in high heels, fashion, and nudity, that in fact advocated feminism.
Although Helmut Newton started his career in the 1950s, it was not until the 70s for his actual breakthrough when he got noted for his distinctive fashion photography for French Vogue. It was during those times that there was a shift in women’s emancipation and liberated sexual morals. Newton’s work reflected that. It’s not by chance that he was friends with fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld who were keen on the interplay of sexes and new ways to portray women. In his work powerful women, sensuality and desire are the main themes. His fashion photography was one of the most influential works in history. Newton was also a popular portrait photographer and captured many politicians and celebrities on print.
Nudity as symbol of empowerement
While visiting the exhibition you will be intrigued by the way he captured his models in a suggestive, often ambiguous way. By use of mirrors and television screens he created a visual illusion. In many of his photos he plays around with androgyn images, and the constant interplay of revelation and hiding. But above all, his aim was to portray women as powerful, independent and confident. The nude photos are therefore not a form of eroticism but rather to symbolize emancipation and strength; women who took of all layers to expose their powerful self.
The Helmut Newton Foundation
The prints at the exposition are from the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. A film; Helmut by June (1995), by his wife June, is also part of the exposition. Curator is Matthias Harder.
For more information and tickets: http://www.foam.org/