In Helmut Newton’s photography, the lines between art and pornography are often blurred. Strong women in provocative poses are seen in dramatically staged, voyeuristic shots which evoke his very distinct style of fashion, nude and portrait photography.
Newton courted controversy with his images and with a keen eye for social extremes, his work holds a mirror up to what he saw as the extravagances of Western society. Women’s liberation in the 1960s and 70s provided a new era in his photography where women are depicted as being responsible for themselves and for their own pleasures. His coolly staged photographs gave expression to the discovery of this new freedom, thus confronting society with its own secret desires and fears.
In 1988, director Adrian Maben visited Newton in his adopted home in Monte Carlo and also accompanied him to photo sessions in Los Angeles, Berlin and Paris. On these trips he caught rare glimpses of the artist’s private life and documented the process of the creation of some breathtaking works, which are seen here in this film.
Leading stars including Karl Lagerfield, Catherine Deneuve and Faye Dunaway recount their experiences of working with one of the most glamourous and sought after photographers of the twentieth century whose life was cruelly cut short when he died in a car accident in 2004.
The series Art Lives, from Arthaus Musik, is a series of arresting documentaries about artists and art movements released for the first time on DVD in the English language.