Monday, July 26, 2010

June Newton - Helmut by June (2007)

Helmut Newton revolutionized fashion photography and electrified the art world with disturbing, highly eroticized images that transformed lush-bodied women into exquisite icons.
Dubbed the "King of Kink" by Time magazine, Newton died in 2004, leaving behind an influential and subversive body of work.

The CINEMAX Reel Life presentation HELMUT BY JUNE portrays Newton's life as a photographer as seen through the lens of wife June Newton, who documented her husband at work at a number of shoots in the '90s.
The resulting portrait, distributed in Europe, was seen by devoted fan and Newton intimate Brett Ratner ("X-Men: The Last Stand"), who was determined to help bring it to a wider audience in the United States. Updated with opening commentary from June, which was filmed by executive producer Ratner.
Using only the most basic camera equipment, Helmut Newton created haunting visual narratives set in a world saturated with sex, glamour and implied violence.
While his photographs appeared frequently on the pages of glossy magazines, Newton was far more than a fashion photographer. He blurred the line between fine art and pornography with androgynous imagery, voyeuristic titillation and sado-masochistic scenarios.

June Newton, his devoted spouse for 56 years, turns the tables on Newton, opening a voyeuristic window into his complicated personal and creative life. At turns poignant, comical and unsettling, HELMUT BY JUNE paints a riveting portrait of photography's dark prince, who was equally comfortable on both sides of the camera.
June follows Newton as he painstakingly stages scenes that blend fashion and fetishism to reflect his lifelong fascination with women who are simultaneously powerful and vulnerable.
Always in complete control of his subjects, Newton describes the models in his photographs as "a commodity...paid to be made into what I want."
Against the ultra-chic backdrops of Monte Carlo, Paris, Miami, Nice and Los Angeles, a who's who of fashion, including Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Karen Mulder, Helena Christiansen, Carla Bruni and Gianni and Donatella Versace, parades before Newton's skewed lens.
Hollywood royalty, including Billy Wilder and Sigourney Weaver (in an iridescent green body suit and shaved head), as well as opera stars Jane Anderson and Luciano Pavarotti, also allow themselves to be transformed into figments of Newton's perverse imagination. His dissolute charm seduces even politicians, as Newton chortles about his "ultimate pin-up girl," Margaret Thatcher.
"People want to get inside his head to see where the images come from," June observes. HELMUT BY JUNE documents the private side of a very public partnership, in addition to exploring Newton's extraordinary art.
"Helmut did not only photograph his subjects...he directed them," says Ratner. "As his partner in life and in art, June brings unique insight into his artistic process and deepens our understanding of this genius of 20th-century photography."
June Newton, Helmut's model, muse and wife, was born in Australia. A former actress, she is also a painter and photographer known as Alice Springs, whose work has been exhibited in London, Paris, Los Angeles and Milan. With her husband, she co- authored such books as "Them and Us" and "Mrs. Newton." June Newton continues to serve as art director for all of her late husband's exhibitions and books. ( review)

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