lunedì 13 giugno 2011

Le Polaroid di Helmuth Newton in mostra a Berlino

Helmut Newton, Thierry Mugler
Monte Carlo 1998, Polaroid
© Helmut Newton Estate
Helmut Newton
Helmut Newton foundation / Museum of Photography
June 10 – November 20, 2011

Over 300 Polaroids offer a view in the sketchbook of one of the most successful and important photographer.

There were so many of these Polaroids, that they were sometimes used as coasters at the couple’s dinner parties… “The man WORKED” said June Newton, “so you can imagine how many boxes of Polaroids we have in the archives.” These mementos from some of Newton’s most well known fashion shoots were enlarged for this exhibition. They are like incredible time capsules – both in the sense that the Polaroid itself fades after several years so their patina is visible, and in the sense that they show a time line of fashion in the past 4 decades. With some 300 works, the show offers a glimpse into the sketchbook of one of the most influential photographers of the late 20Th century. Newton’s Amazonian models shot on luxurious locations wearing what would become milestones in couture can now be seen in their Polaroid versions – slightly less orchestrated and a tad more spontaneous than their final, glossy magazine versions.

"questa mattina June Newton era a Berlino per presentare una mostra in cui si raccolgono più di 300 polaroid scattate da suo marito.
Le ho chiesto, mentre si aggirava per le stanze della fondazione, quale fosse la storia che sta dietro a questa famosa immagine.
Ha risposto così: "Vivevamo a Parigi, avevamo un appartamento nel Marais. Eravamo a cena in uno dei bistrot del quartiere. Finito di mangiare Helmut mi chiese, 'June, la puoi aprire?', indicando la giacca. Ovviamente aveva la macchina fotografica appoggiata sul tavolo. Aprii rapidamente la giacca. Fu molto veloce"." (di Laura Lucchini qui)

June Newton (Alice Springs), vedova di Helmut Newton, posa di fronte alle immagini del celebre marito, esposte al Museo della Fotografia di Berlino. Come un taccuino d'appunti di uno dei grandi maestri del ventesimo secolo, la mostra «Helmut Newton Polaroids» presenta più di 300 ingrandimenti delle istantanee realizzate dall'artista con la macchina che, a suo tempo, rivoluzionò il modo di fare fotografia. Molte opere non sono mai state presentate al di fuori degli spazi espositivi della Helmut Newton Foundation. Fino al 20 novembre. (vedi)

Helmut Newton used the Polaroid’s during his shoots for his fashion commissions so that raw and spontaneous sketches originated. Newton mostly used them to check the very light situation or the composition on the set. He also wrote little notes on them and kept every single Polaroid. In the new exhibition at museum of photography you can now try to comprehend his work via the Polaroid’s. (vedi
This was already the case early on, following the creation and presentation of the instant photograph at the Optical Society of America in 1947 by its inventor, Edwin Land – and especially after he presented in 1972 the legendary SX-70 System, a collapsible, simple and affordable camera. In nearly all photographic areas – from landscape and genre, portrait and self-portrait, fashion and nudes – this unique imaging process has found enthusiastic devotees all over the world.

Helmut Newton used the technology intensively starting in the 1970s, especially for his fashion photo shoots. As he once described in an interview, this satisfied his impatient urge to want to know immediately how a certain situation would look as a photograph. In this context, the Polaroid acted as an idea sketch in addition to testing the actual lighting situation and image composition. In 1992 Newton published 'Pola Woman', an unconventional book consisting only of his Polaroids. According to the photographer, the publication lay particularly close to his heart, although it was discussed amidst great controversy. In response to the accusation that the images in the book were not perfect enough, he countered: “But that was exactly what was exciting – the spontaneity, the speed.”

Newton’s additional notes, written on the edges of the Polaroids, are fascinating as well as revealing with regard to the model, client or location and date. The comments, the haziness of the images and the signs of use are naturally also to be found on the enlargements of the Polaroids included in the exhibition; they testify to a pragmatic approach to the original work materials, which have now possess an own inherent value. Especially interesting for today’s viewer is the unique Polaroid aesthetic that unexpectedly alters the colors and contrast of the photographed subject.

For the first time ever, over 300 works based on the original Polaroids offer a comprehensive overview of this aspect of Newton’s oeuvre. The exhibition is thus a look into the sketchbook of one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Many of the iconic photographs that have already been presented in the exhibition space of the Helmut Newton Foundation can be discovered in the current exhibition in the process of their creation.

Matthias Harder

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication by TASCHEN, hardcover, 224 pages.

Helmut Newton Foundation
Jebensstr. 2, 10623

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