Helmut Newton at Fotografiska

The Stockholm museum of photography, Fotografiska, goes from strength to strength with their exhibitions. Annie Leibovitz, Christer Strömholm, Robert Maplethorpe and David LaChapelle have been some of their popular, past exhibitions. Yesterday was the premiere of their big, summer exhibition... a retrospective of the great fashion and portrait photographer Helmut Newton. I, of course, stopped by and checked it out.
Helmut Newton has always been one of my favorite photographers, so I was happy when the exhibition was announced. His work is very recognizable... either through the style, subject/model or both. The photographs, often in black & white, are almost always erotically charged and provocative. Sometimes through nudity or sometimes with an article of clothing that hints at slightly "kinky" sexual behaviour... women in men's clothing, corsets, leather or stiletto heels (some so high they resemble weapons). Nothing overt, just a nod and often with a sense of humour.
Fashion collaboration with Yves Saint Laurent
His models also tend to be Amazonian in appearance: strong, confident with impossibly long legs. Newton was one of the first fashion photographers that combined sex with fashion, collaborating with designers like Saint Laurent, Lagerfeld and Mugler in the pages of Vogue, Elle and Stern from the late 60's through the 90's. His photography does stir up debate (shouldn't all good art?). Was he a misogynist or did he celebrate powerful women? Was he living out his sexual fantasies through his art or just having a good laugh? Be aware that the exhibition does contain nudity! In fact, there is one whole room dedicated to his nudes.
Portrait of Salvador Dalí
Newton's portraits (also featured in this retrospective) are, as a group, a fantastic window on his era with subjects that younger generations might not recognize today: Salvador Dalí, Claus von Bülow, Yves Saint Laurent, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Andy Warhol among others. This exhibition runs all summer until September 29th. Fotografiska is located on the waterfront and easy to get to from the Rival Hotel... just a 15-20 minute walk, down to Slussen and then along the waterfront. An extra recommendation: be sure to visit their cafe/bar on the top floor for great views of the city and their gift shop on the ground floor.
Classic Newton. Defintely a "leg man".


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