Berlin is calling and this time it’s for a serious fashion photography fix. Germany’s legendary photographer Helmut Newton is drawing us in this season with two stellar new exhibitions at the eponymous Newton Museum. First, it’s the female-centric World without Men and secondly, the more intimate and mysterious Archives de Nuit. The late photographer is the antithesis of Terry Richardson and we love that his images seem to make the most impact when they’re giving the power back to the women in front of the lens.
The fun starts in the foyer of the museum where you’re met with five enormous nudes hanging above a split staircase. And Newton’s cheeky and provocative humour is everywhere. The building used to be a military casino, so if you were here 100 years ago, you might have seen five Prussian officials standing there instead.
World Without Men is based on Newton’s fourth book of the same name. These kind of ironic, descriptive titles are a running theme for him. But the show depicts just that, from the 1960s to early 1980s these are fashion shoots minus the gentlemen and when the boys do appear in the frame at all they are mere props, there purely to make the ladies look good. The show is full to the brim with his highly charged fashion images shot across the globe for some of the biggest fashion magazines of all time. Long before Newton was publishing his mighty fashion tomes he worked solely on commissions for the biggest fashion houses out there.
Beside this, is Newton’s second project: Archives de Nuit. These photos are more or less ‘side shots’ and bring his diverse black und white photographs together from the late 1980s to early 1990s: portraits, nudes, landscapes and still lifes – but no fashion. It’s the other side of Helmut Newton – a darker side, a night archive. An unusual Helmut Newton that we’ve never seen.
The German-Australian photographer is unparalleled in his own way, very few of his other colleagues are able to push the boundaries of fashion photography as far as Newton. His women, wearing high heels, balance seductively on the edge of fashion, money and power in a tasteful and striking way. Want to witness a little girl power for yourself? Spare some time during your next visit to Berlin or start planning one now!