BORN 1920 IN BERLIN, GERMANY
DIED 2004 in LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Helmut Newton loved Los Angeles. He returned so frequently to its barren and lush landscapes, he made it his winter home. Drawn in by its unique blend of glamor and emptiness, his personal vision of the city that inspired him the most is at the core of the exhibit “Sex and Landscapes”, being shown in Los Angeles for the first time at Perry Rubenstein Gallery with the support of June Newton and the estate. The show of 40 large-scale photographs spans three decades of his work.
I had found out that I did not function well in the studio, that my imagination needed the reality of the outdoors.”
- “American Photo”, January/February 2000, page 90
Reality is a hard thing to come by in Los Angeles. A city of the lesser angels, it is by definition a place of illusion and pretense. In “Sex and Landscapes”, a shadow of an airplane cast upon the earth becomes as much a body in physical space as two naked women intertwined in the backyard of a Bel Air mansion. Helmut Newton brought his personal lens to this city, which is in itself largely landscape, and found his own unique interpretation by combining that which is raw, natural, and primal in the naked body, with the beauty, tamed and untamed, of the LA landscape. It is fitting that his last theme would finally come home to LA.
Helmut Newton’s genius lies with the capture of an existential tension in his subjects, and his inversion of roles in ironic, subtle and often tragic ways. As a true artist his images show his captured world as drama at the moment of decision, surprise and unfolding. His work reflects a profound silence in the struggle of being human, meeting and not meeting, a paradise both lost and found.