Women into Man, 1979
Helmut NewtonHelmut Newton and David Bowie were close friends through the 80’s working together on many portraits of both David Bowie and his alter-ego, Ziggi Stardust. In many ways, ‘Women into Man’ shows the influence of Bowie’s Ziggi Stardust on Newton’s transgressive ideas of gender. Shot for Vogue in 1976, Newton presents two women as an avante-garde conception of femininity - at once masculine and promiscuous. Situated in a hotel lobby, Newton plays with themes of self-control and the boundaries between the public and private spheres. Much of Newton’s androgynous work featured the clothes of Yves Saint Laurent, the designer whose career Newton helped to launch.
About the authorPhotographer Helmut Newton is most famous for his work as a fashion photographer, frequently creating work for Vogue magazine, and for his provocative, studied photographs of nudes. Born to a Jewish family in Berlin in 1920, Newton received his first camera at 12 years old, often neglecting his studies in school to pursue photography. It is reputed that Newton first became enamored with the female nude as a photographic subject as a teenager, while working as an apprentice to a theater photographer in Berlin. He fled increasing Nazi oppression in Germany in 1938, and worked in Singapore and Australia during World War II, serving in the Australian army for several years.
Moving to EuropeHe later opened up a photography studio, and moved to Europe in the 1950s. In Paris he began working for French Vogue, and later Playboy, Elle, and other publications during the 1950s and 1960s as his reputation grew, traveling frequently throughout the world on assignments. Known for the dramatic lighting and the unconventional poses of his models in his photographs, Newton’s work has been characterized as obsessive and subversive, incorporating themes of sadomasochism, prostitution, violence, and a persistently-overt sexuality into the narratives of his images. Newton challenged conventions, and created a provocative, hybrid photography that embraced fashion, erotica, portrait, and documentary elements, producing a highly stylized interpretation of elegant and decadent ways of life.
The nude styleNewton turned his attention to making powerful, confrontational nudes. He conceived witty, erotic picture stories for the American magazine Oui, and he gave his unique twist to the creation of pictures for Playboy. Portraits of celebrities became an evermore important aspect of Newton’s work, and while these were at first mostly related to the world of fashion, over the years he broadened his portfolio to include countless people who intrigued him-artists, actors, film directors, politicians, industrial magnates, the powerful and the charismatic from all spheres. Many of these photos were published through the 1980s in Vanity Fair. Over the next twenty-five years he worked steadily and productively, publishing a series of books and creating countless exhibitions. Newton was highly sought after until the end of his life. He died of injuries from a car accident at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, California in 2004. Shortly before his death he had established the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, Germany, and donated approximately one thousand of his works to his native city.
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Rolled Up, DIY wood bars, Stretched
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