from: 04.06.2005 to: 14.05.2006

Museum für Fotografie

"Some people's photography is an art. Mine is not, if they happen to be exhibited in a gallery or a museum, that's fine. But that's not why I do them. I'm a gun for hire." (Helmut Newton, Newsweek, 2004)


"A gun for hire" is how Helmut Newton sometimes used to describe himself. As someone commissioned by fashion houses, sanitary and car manufacturers, jewlery designers and hardware store chains to photograph their products. Over 150 such photographs from the past two decades — which have not been exhibited before — are being presented at the Helmut Newton Foundation under the title "A gun for hire". These include fashion photographs for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Blumarine, and Mugler along with the last editorial assignments he did for Vogue and publicity campaigns.

More time was spent on the preparations of these assignments than in the actual photography. Many of the photographs were taken in Monte Carlo that became his outdoor studio for the last two decades of his life. He loved discovering construction sites and the 'terrain vague' in Monte Carlo. On one particular shot, the fashion editor said to June Newton: "Look what he's doing - you'd think you were in deepest Africa but it's right next door where he lives."

Spanning five decades, Helmut Newton's work encompasses multiple genres and resists categorization. His fashion images underscore the individual styles of the fashion designers. "The same creative process and energy imbued all aspects of his work", June Newton remarks. "He welcomed and respected the restrictions and requirements of his clients. The commercial work enabled him to become financially independent to do the work that made him famous."

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