Helmut Newton’s Autobiogaphy Is
Thundering Good Therapy
Hurrah, for although it’s a miserable overcast day when I visited the post office I was delighted to find that two books had arrived, which I had ordered from Amazon.co.uk, [of course it's also available from Amazon.com]. I don’t think I’ll open them both today, but I’m sure to read one of them.
Journal resumed some hours, and pages, later:
I decided to start with Helmut Newton’s autobiography. It is a real delight, and must also be the cheapest Helmut Newton book to be made available anywhere. For someone who hated school and failed to reach his parents’ expectations he is an exceptional writer. But more than this the book is an inspiration for anyone who seriously is considering a career in photography.
This is because despite various hardships, brought on largely by Nazi anti-Semitism and persecution which murdered his uncle, and also his original employer a photographer called Yva Newton neither dwells on these horrors, nor on the hardships of internment as a stateless alien in Australia followed by four years of military service in the Australian forces. Instead he describes in great detail how he ‘shagged’ his way across Europe, Asia and ‘down under’ before meeting his beloved wife June Browne, [who is also takes photographs professionally under the pseudonym Alice Springs].
The couples sometimes tempestuous, but always loving relationship reveals the strains that a photographer’s lifestyle can place upon a relationship.
As the book progresses Newton leaves Australia with June to work for London Vogue. “My pictures were a disaster”, he writes.
Subsequently the couple settled in Paris where they struggled to make ends meet, even though Helmut was regularly employed by French Vogue, as well as Elle and other publications. Nevertheless sometimes he also was forced to go to Berlin to photograph collections for very little return, just to make ends meet.
The couple vacillated about whether to live in Australia or Europe. In Australia Newton’s career was successful and his finances were stronger, but to be in the first rung of photography he needed to be either in Europe or the USA.
In due course the Newtons settled in Paris, living there for over twenty years, later they moved to Monte Carlo.
It must have been shortly after his heart attack in America that I first came across Helmut Newton’s work. It is the original ‘Porno Chic‘, and I find it quite delightful. You can find an example of it here.
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