helmut newton © designboom



we met helmut newton on september 20, 2001 during a presentation of giugiaro design at the milan triennale (we did not publish the interview, because it was not complete and we thought we would be able to update it).



what is the best moment of the day?

working under lights at night.



certainly you notice how women are dressing,


do you have any preferences?

it depends – my tastes change with the times. every decade women’s bodies seem to be different. I like haute couture, today everybody looks the same around the world … in sneakers and jeans.


helmut newton interview

helmut newton © alice springs courtesy galleria carla sozzani 



what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?

stilettos (laughs).



helmut newton interview

saddle I, for vogue homme, paris, 1976 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzani 



when you were a child, did you want to become


a photographer?

in 1936 I arranged to have myself thrown out of school as a hopeless pupil. I wanted to be a paparazzo.



helmut newton interview

rue aubriot, for french vogue, paris, 1975 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzani 



do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors?

everywhere, but not in a studio.



helmut newton interview

big nude III , paris, 1980 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzani 



describe your style, like a good friend of yours would


describe it.

if I have really nothing to do, I start spinning a tale for myself, which is one of the most pleasant ways of spending time. my pictures are like a story that has no beginning, no middle, and no end.



 helmut newton interview

sylvia in my studio, paris, 1981 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzan



do you prefer black and white photography?

I shoot both color and black-and-white film. you never know.



helmut newton interview

fat hand with dollars, monte carlo, 1986 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzani



can you describe an evolution in your work from your


first projects to the present day?

to have taboos, then to get around them – that’s interesting. looking back at my old fashion photographs I wonder : how the hell did I have the courage to go through all these complications ?



helmut newton interview

private property, new york, 1992 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzani 



over the course of your artistic career,


you’ve been called a lot of things: sexist, visionary…


did you ever worked for a porno magazine?

I was a contributor for playboy for about twenty years. my work was even too risky for playboy. they asked me – please do something for us … but nothing as kinky as what you do for french vogue’.



 helmut newton interview

domestic nude I, hollywood, 1992 © helmut newton courtesy galleria carla sozzani 



any advice for the young?

there are two dirty words in photography; one is ‘art’, and the other is ‘good taste’. beauty is intellect. and glamour has nothing to do with money.

helmut newton interview