Helmut Newton, vulgar and brilliant

Helmut Newton was a German-Australian photographer and was a "prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications." Born in Berlin in 1920, he passed away in 2004 at the age of 84 in California … these are some of his witticisms:


My father told me that I’s end up at the bottom, because I think only about girls and photographs.


My father gave me my first camera - and I took my first seven photographs in the subway.


The world is completely different when you look at it through the viewfinder.


I got a job as an assistant photographer, when I was 14, and did not tell my parents. My grades became worse than ever; my father took my camera away and did not allow me to leave the house.


In 1938, the Gestapo broke into our house and my father was arrested. At that moment I was not at home.  I was hiding for another two weeks,  and then I ran ... I arrived in Italy, boarded a ship in Trieste, got to Singapore and in the end to Melbourne, Australia.


If you have to fight - do it in the Australian Army. It’s somehow more relaxed and humanly.


I fell in love with Paris on the first day. A week later I was able to move around the city with my eyes closed; a year later I ran out of money.


I hate “good taste”. Boring. This phrase is from which all life suffocates.


In December 1971, in New York, I suddenly fell on Park Avenue and woke up in hospital half paralyzed - I had a myocardial infarction. I could neither speak nor write. When you pass through it and stay alive, you give yourself a promise.


I smoked at heart-attack-rate of fifty cigarettes a day - after that no smoking anymore. Three months before the stroke I spent six days in Rome at endless parties. All this time I slept maybe eighteen hours, and then flew to Paris, and it was more of the same. Overall, it had to stop.  At the hospital, I was shooting everyone: nurses, visitors, doctors. After ten days of suspense doctors told me: "You will live, but be careful."


Pornography can be beautiful.


Bourgeois women are more erotic than a hairdresser or a secretary. Elegance, education, environment - I believe in these things, I sometimes feel ashamed for it, but it's true. 


Woman of high society are sexy in nature.


Women I shoot are available, but their availability depends on the time and money you can spend on them.


Once I did a series of photos for the magazine Oui. They were naked women in fur coats - in the subway, galleries, on the Champs Elysees. It was my childhood fantasy. When I was fourteen, I read "Mistress Elsa" Arthur Schnitzler - the story of this ruined banker and his seventeen-year-daughter beauty. One man told her that he would help her father if she agrees to walk the corridors of the hotel in a fur coat on a naked body. She agreed - came out of her room and walked around the man, opening the coat. He did not even touch her, and fulfilled his promise.


My work is very vulgar. General creative process is inextricably linked with a bad taste and vulgarity.


Fashion editors constantly put on their models scarves, ballet flats, flowing clothes that hide their body, and fill me with anger. They constantly choose things that a normal man considers anti-sexual. Would I love a girl who dressed like that? This is the first question I ask myself on a fashion shoot.


Good taste; vulgarity - it is life, pleasure and desire.


Voyeurism in the photos - it is a necessary and a professional perversion.


I am very lazy. I hate to look for places for filming and never depart from my hotel more than three kilometres.

One day I was shooting in a brothel. Landlord first was against it, but eventually agreed - he gave me a room in one of the quietest days, on Sunday. I came with the model, assistant, hairdresser, barber assistant. The owner saw us and said, "You come here to arrange an orgy or a photograph?"


I know what poverty is, and it does not interest me. I prefer to shoot the rich.


I have a notebook where I write down all my thoughts: the ideas, models and locations. If I did not write it down, I would forget everything.


Four camera, five lenses, one flash, one Polaroid - it all fits in a suitcase weighing 17 kilograms and allows me to shoot any photo anywhere and under any conditions.


I'm very superficial; and I love this superficial world. Artificial, beautiful and funny … I love it when a fifty year old man meets girls of eighteen. I hope this world will never disappear.


We all copy someone at one time or another in life; but then you still need to go your own way.


My photos are like stories that have no beginning, no middle and no end.


 I hate dishonesty in pictures.

I shot for Playboy magazine for twenty years, and even for them my work sometimes was too risky. I really took off on porn.


I do not see any difference between green and blue.