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It does not take an art enthusiast to appreciate the work of Helmut Newton. But to feast your eyes upon a rare collection of his female empire does require a trip to the Grand Palais in Paris.

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The collection of 240 photographs reveals the seductive imagery of female portraits from Newton’s period collection of the sixties, capturing his atypical composition in fashion photography. As a catalyst in fashion photography for abandoning fashion photography as we once knew it, Newton amplifies the figures of celebrity, film, and paparazzi in women portrayed as “less sexual, and more domineering” from simple to simply explicit.

The executions move beyond the photo and into humour and fantasies of the master behind the lens.

“In a fashion photo I can make a short film. Women of my desires. A conquering woman, as the master of her own world. Obsessions are always interesting. People’s obsessions. You know, if my lifestyle was that of my photos I’d be long dead because there is a lot of excess” – Helmut Newton.

Large scale black and white nudes and ambiguous scenes share the wall next to pop culture pieces of detailed stylings as women strike a pose for Newton in his delivery of the female as a force of nature. The powerhouse collection, including some photos never previously exhibited, further affirm Newton’s clutch in fashion photography which continues to be revisited throughout gloss today. The German born Helmut Newton remains a fashion sensation artistically and culturally, as the pillar for magnetic glamour visuals from its birth in the mid 20th Century through today. In every major publication from from Elle, Vogue, Playboy (the overwhelming list goes on), the work of Helmut Newton stands alone, and stands tall as a major force in the fashion industry from the onset of his career until his death in 2004. The collection is on display through June 17, at the Grand Palais in Paris.

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Written by Camilla Harrison

Camilla is currently in her final year studying BA Fashion History and Theory at Central St Martins and is a freelance writer for a range of publications and websites, writing fashion, arts and culture. In the last year, Camilla has been archiving the garments and history of Margaret Howell.

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