The strength of this book is Helmut Newton's outstanding fashion photography. The weakness is that it is displayed in facsimiles from the magazines rather than as a collection of perfectly reproduced photographs. This approach allows you to see how the photographs work with the layouts and designs. Also, the poses and compositions (both strengths of Newton's) are very clear for your consideration. The actual images themselves are often reproduced very poorly, however, sometimes looking like something that came off of a bad copier.
Unlike many of the great photographers of the 20th century who saw themselves as artists first, Newton saw himself as existing primarily through publications. "I realized very early on that the most important factor would be to be published, with a by-line . . . ." This made him see the artistic life of his work as secondary. "If any of these photographs end up on gallery or museum walls or in the possession of collectors, well all the better . . . ." Think of him as the exact opposite of Ansel Adams in how he wants his work to be expressed and remembered.
This book contains more than 500 pages of color, and black and white images from over 3000 that Newton published through 1998. The examples come mostly from French Vogue (beginning in 1961), Queen, Jardin des Modes, British Vogue, Elle, Daily Telegraph Magazine, American Vogue, Nova, Marie Claire, Deutsche Vogue, Amica, Vanity Fair, Paris Match, Allure, and Stern. Most of the examples are from the 1960s and the 1970s.
Mr. Newton's style is very lively. His models have strong personalities, and usually dominate the scene. They are also active, creating an excitement that draws attention to them. For example, he has a great talent for capturing models as they start to fall into a swimming pool.
In many cases, suble humor adds to the picture, as with the swimming pool props. I especially liked the photographs where Mr. Newton appears in the photograph through his use of mirrors. Equally amusing were the photographs where the models photographed themselves using mirrors in the same way.
As sexual mores and tastes loosened up over the years, Mr. Newton's work became more playful and free. I also thought it worked better. I enjoyed the brief essays in the book in which he explained how his relations with editors affected his assignments and the style limitations which he had to observe.
Seeing these images made me hunger for a similar book filled with luscious, perfectly-reproduced images of just these photographs on large pages of great paper. Hopefully, a publisher will indulge me in the future. Now that will be a more than five-star book!
After enjoying the poses and compositions, I suggest you think about where in your life you may be presenting yourself or your ideas in ways that steal much of their power. How can you ovecome that tendency?
Put your best foot forward, whenever possible.