Helmut Newton - Portrait Inlfuences

Helmut Newton's 'They're coming" is a major influence on my final Portrait choice.

The images alone portray the very story - and that's the power of images of course. Whether this was Newton's intention is much debated. The sequence was given the title by Vogue after publication of the images in 1981. Newton certainly portrayed women as dominant and strong, never forgoing beauty and his personal attraction to stilettos and high heeled shoes - revealed in his own words "When I look at a woman," said Newton, "my first glance goes to her shoes and I hope that they are high. High heels make a woman very sexy and give her something threatening." It is also said that Newton took pictures only for his own pleasure and there was nothing altruistic in his work.

We can see that the almost exact replicas have different lighting. This is because Newton had used sunlight coming in through the windows. It does tell us that they were dressed for the first shot and naked for the second. On closer inspection the third model from the left has reversed her leg position.

The use of 'passive' backgrounds allows the models to fully dominate the image.

Horst P Hort's famous corset image portrays a time when the female form was desired but given trusses and girdles. Since Newton's image women have taken to gyms and sports once the reserve of men.

In my shoot I aim to show the transition of everyday women in to business. Whilst women have been in business for some time they have long been perceived individually as 'a woman in a man's world' (we can all hear the song).

Now women are entering in to the business world and bring their femininity with them. I aim to suggest that they should also bring their culture and every other facet of themselves to their work place. This will meet, and perhaps challenge, the call for diversity in the workplace.

Newton, of course is famed for his female nudes, adoration of the female form and controversial construction of images including guns, implied lesbianism and sado masochism. My portrait choice is about about emancipation and liberation. For this reason I will limit exploration of Newton's images to a slide show.

I have selected images that I believe show women as strong characters. Adopting poses that at the time would be considered very masculine - drinking beer at a fast food stand, touting guns and wearing masks or heavy work boots, mastering wild dogs - all with confident body language (eye contact, tilt of the head, pointing of the legs and toes, facial expressions - it's all there), .

N.B. This not a censorship, editorial or moral decision, simply that the images do not further support my intended outcomes.

Newton also worked in colour but it is these B&W images that most resonate with my own theme.

The images are all strongly lit with the light almost washing out the features. Perhaps a tip of the hat by Newton towards modern airbrushing, a desire for perfection in the female form.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Again can you label this research so it can add value to your mark and show where to concentrate in the final run in.