This book has one of the most interesting premises of any photography book I have had the pleasure to examine. Spouses, Helmut Newton and Alice Springs, share their photographic perspectives of each other, themselves, and the same models. These different views echo around in your mind to help you understand the personalities, purposes, and methods of two interesting photographers. In the process, you get a better understanding of the photography itself . . . and how it changes the models in our perception. By providing images over many decades, you also get a time-lapse view of a relationship and the aging process.
Before going further, let me note that this volume contains many nude images of men and women that would be past the "R" rating if this book were a motion picture.
The book has a few brief comments by Helmut Newton to set the stage. "The book shows the work of two photographers . . . [who] have lived together for fifty years." " . . . [B]ut neither is usually present at the other's photographic sittings." " . . . [N]either one has in any way influenced the other's way of approaching their subjects." "I can see the truth and simplicity in the portraits of Alice Springs." "[She has] been an actress and a painter before she has taken up the camera seriously if somewhat sporadically." "As for myself, I recognize the manipulation and editorialising in my photographs."
Alice Springs looks for the core of the person, and captures the realities of daily life and aging very well. She shows you the joking and self-absorbed sides of Helmut Newton that help explain the stylized and challenging images that he is famous for producing. Helmut Newton obviously adds a gloss and a pose to everything, that gets his editorial position out. But it's fun in this context, much more so than in his other work. I found myself reevaluating his work after seeing these images by Alice Springs.
Here are my favorite images in the book by Alice Springs:
Of Helmut Newton -- Spain 1956; Rue Aubriot, Paris 1971; Ritz, London 1976; With Sylvia, Ramatuelle 1981; Monte-Carlo, 1987; Hollywood 1988, 1991
Of Alice Springs -- Ramatuelle, France 1975; Vail, Colorado 1996
Princess Caroline and son, Monte-Carlo 1985; Karl Lagerfeld, Monte-Carlo 1983; Rudi Gernreich, Los Angeles 1985; Tina Chow, Beverly Hills 1986; Angelica Houston, Hollywood 1983; Antonio Lopez, Paris 1977
Here are my favorite images in the book by Helmut Newton:
Of Alice Springs -- June as Hedda Gabler, Melbourne 1960; In our kitchen, Rue Aubriot, Paris 1972; Hotel Volney, New York 1982; Rue Aubriot, Paris 1974; Ramatuelle 1976
Of Helmut Newton -- Photomation, Paris 1970s; With wife and model, 1981; Clinique St. Jean, Cagnes-sur-Mer, 1997
Birgit Nielsen, Monte-Carlo 1987; Gianni Versace, Lake Como, Italy 1994; Donatella Versace, Off coast of Antibes, 1990; David Hockney, Los Angeles 1988; Peter Beard, Paris 1996
After you see this remarkable book, I suggest that you have some fun with your family. Take a day, bring a camera for each person, and make photographs of each other and the same subjects. Do this once a year to develop a better sense of your perspectives and relationships. Then comment on each other's work, and create a scrapbook or album out of this sharing. You'll have a lot of fun looking back on these images in future years.
Take a good look . . . and see more!