His pictures made feminists mad with rage and enchanted Anna Wintour , who called on him for the most sulphurous shoots in US Vogue.
Helmut Newton , a German Jew born in the midst of the rise of Nazism and a genius photographer, is the subject of a very laudatory documentary produced by the Teutonic journalist Gero von Boehm which will be released in theaters on July 14. 3 good reasons to go see it ...
To change your mind about the photographer
It took at least the testimonies of badass icons like Grace Jones , Claudia Schiffer , Isabella Rossellini , Charlotte Rampling and Anna Wintour to make this status credible: Helmut Newton loved women. In a voyeuristic way, of course, since the nude quickly became his specialty. But obviously, none of the models he posed in unlikely positions felt uncomfortable or belittled. Grace Jones even laughs at it: “ He was a bit perverted, but so was I. ”
Quite the contrary: all the creatures interviewed by Gero von Boehm align with the idea that these sessions have made them more powerful than ever, helping them to free themselves from their shells of young firsts, most of them having started in their fresh air. twenties, so uncomfortable in their bodies. In reality, Newton was photographing women whose seduction became strength, both fascinated and terrified of the power they then possessed. Moreover, he hated photographing men and followed the orders of June, his beloved wife whom he adored all his life ...
Because his work is anchored in history
As Anna Wintour rightly points out (whose testimony is decidedly the most fascinating), the success of her friend perfectly coincided with the great talents of couture at the time, namely Karl Lagerfeld and Saint Laurent , whose fashion worked with Newton's civilized universe. This is how the photographer was able to fit into the history of fashion from the 70's.
But Gero von Boehm goes further in his historical arc, clarifying how the ubiquitous Nazi imagery in his childhood may have influenced his work. Whoever grew up in Germany also claims a fascination for the sculptural works of Leni Riefenstahl , the propagandist photographer of the Third Reich. However, much later, Newton also had fun shooting Jean-Marie Le Pen with his dogs in the vein of a photo of Hitler which the politician was not aware of at the time ...
For the enormous archive work
To make this documentary so detailed, Gero von Boehm went to find amazing archival videos at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. A follower of bad taste and provocation, the man who died in a car accident in 2004 delivers his stripping humor to the camera which will not be to the liking of people at all.
We find in particular filmed extracts of shootings in Monaco , where a male model seems to suffocate in his diving suit (“ Eric, if you want you can breathe! ”) Or that of a woman contorted on the ground who must keep a natural air. . The German's directives and conversations turn out to be so unreal that the situations become downright funny, far removed from the disturbing effect that was finally found on his cult clichés.
In theaters July 14
© Helmut Newton, Helmut Newton Estate Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation