Helmut Newton, a photographer of Australian descent, was born in Berlin in 1920, on Halloween. At 16, he got his start in photography working as an apprentice to Berlin photographer Yva, whose specialties were fashion and nudes. She must have been a large influence, since this is precisely what he is most known for today.
Newton's photography is erotic, sometimes bordering on pornographic, but in unusual and unnerving ways. He is fond of statuesque and androgynous or masculine-looking female models. Besides nudes in general, cross-dressing and lesbian eroticism are reoccuring themes in his work.
In 1957, Newton moved to Paris and soon became a regular contributor to Vogue magazine, including the American, Italian and English versions as well as the French. His photography has also appeared in other big names such as Elle and Playboy, and in museum exhibitions.
In the late 70's, he released his first book, White Women, a study in artistically done erotic portraiture. More recently, his 1999 book, Sumo, is famous not only for the work inside but for its sheer size. Over two feet long and over 65 pounds, with 480 pages, it has to come with its own special stand to set it on and is currently going for $2,500 on Amazon.com.
Helmut Newton currently lives in Monte Carlo and Los Angeles.
Editor's note. Helmut Newton was killed in a car accident in Los Angeles on 23 January 2004.