How do you tell a story in just one frame? Do it the way Helmut Newton did.
I saw his big retrospective in Rome in 2013 and again last weekend in Amsterdam’s Foam. The major exhibition features more than 200 photographs, ranging from the monumental, life-size nudes to some of his early prints that are rarely shown.
I love his work for several reasons. The most important is the way he captures a moment, each element so masterfully organised in order to propel the story, that you immediately connect with the photograph and become a part of the journey that Newton began on his set.
Maybe this particular focus on the story is what revolutionised fashion photography: a departure from the boring to the magnificent.
There is also the way Helmut Newton depicts women. Most of his iconic work is of powerful, confident women. Their clothing or nudity becomes a secondary element. Some of his photographs are over-staged, and it is a good thing. The effect is dramatic, almost theatrical.
For me, Helmut Newton is one of the most important, eloquent story-tellers of modern times and I would hate to see his work pigeonholed, the complexity and multi-layered nature of them cast to one side.
There was a time that having a portrait taken by Helmut Newton was the ultimate seal of success. You will see examples in this exhibition, ranging from Salvador Dali to Margaret Thatcher.
You have until September 4 to enjoy this incredible collection. It is well worth a trip to Amsterdam.
Watch a video tour below:
Find the Exhibition here: