Coffee Table Book: Helmut Newton Polaroids

– By Carson Sieving –

A first glance through Helmut Newton Polaroids is both familiar and unsettling: Familiar because the book includes Newton’s most iconic images – and unsettling because the pictures aren’t quite as one remembers them.

The book includes over 300 Polaroids, documenting shoots for Paris Vogue, Yves Saint Laurent, and other projects.  As the introduction explains, Newton used Polaroids as test shots before shooting on film.  The instant photos allowed him to see changes in color and contrast, and afforded him the opportunity to adjust the lighting and composition accordingly.

The images for the book were selected by his widow, June Newton, who writes in her introduction that her husband used to bring home stacks of Polaroids from his shoots and toss them on the table “like Othello coming home with the spoils of war.” (They were apparently in such ready supply that she would even use them as place cards at dinner parties.)

Sketches and drafts of the Old Masters are now collected in their own right. In a sense, Newton’s Polaroids also stand on their own as brief impressions of moments past: Hazy, intense, at times unforgettable.

Helmut Newton, Polaroids
Helmut Newton
Published by Taschen Books


Related Exhibition:
Helmut Newton Polaroids
June 10, 2011 – May 20, 2012
Die Helmut Newton Stiftung im Museum für Fotografie,
Jebensstrasse 2, 10623 Berlin, Germany








Carson Sieving drinks Manhattans in Manhattan, where she makes lists, collects postcards, and attends the opera.  She writes about how beautiful things inspire and influence a beautiful life.  You can follow her on Twitter @CarsonSieving


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