Daring, provocative and revolutionary, German-born Helmut Newton, long-time Vogue photographer, had a talent for capturing the essence of a look, and that knack is best represented by his immortal books of black-and-white photographs. But now you can get up close and personal with the shots at Helmut Newton. White Women / Sleepless Nights / Big Nudes, a photography exhibition featuring a whopping 200 pieces from his early work staged at Rome‘s Palazzo delle Esposizioni through July 21.
This fascinating retrospective, gathered and curated by June Newton, Newton’s widow, reveals the complex personality and the ironic touch of one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Named after his three photo books, the exhibition showcases Newton’s stunning portfolio, the evolution of his style and how he broke rules and ultimately reshaped fashion photography with his bold portraits.
With his first book, White Women, published in 1976, Newton introduces nudity and provocative poses into fashion photography. His second book, Sleepless Nights, published in 1979, is an ode to the female body and women’s clothing, featuring fashion photography shots as well as portraits. His third book, Big Nudes, published in 1981, captures models outside of the studio on the streets in spontaneous, often sensual poses (as opposed to stiff, overly fabricated poses).
Newton’s work has voyeuristic tilt — moments of daily intimacy are captured as if spied through a keyhole. While his work has been widely published in magazines, this exhibit represents the photos he selected for his own books, so it gives visitors a peek into what he truly valued about his own craft.
Photos Courtesy of Palazzo delle Esposizioni and Alberto Novelli