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Helmut Newton & Cindy Crawford On Location

Helmut Newton photographed numerous models duing his long career - some more famous than others. One person who had the pleasure of working with Newton is supermodel Cindy Crawford. Last month, the icon attended the opening gala for our Helmut Newton exhibit at the Space for Photography.

We've uncovered a vintage segment from Crawford's popular 1990s fashion show on MTV, House of Style, which shows her on location in Monte Carlo wth Newton for a Vogue magazine photoshoot. She had this to say about her experience with the legenadry photographer: "I wanted to do Helmut Newton photographs. I didn't want him to photograph me looking like the Madonna….he's one of the few people that can get away with it and it doesn't look raunchy."

Click "read more" to watch Newton in action in the clip from 1990.

Watch Our New Iris Nights Video

Over the last four years, we've had close to 200 amazing lecturers participate in Iris Nights. Most of those lectures are available to watch on our website - for free! We've just completed a brand new highlights reel (if you will) of just some of the countless absorbing moments we've captured during these talks. Click "Read More" to watch the video. Iris Nights - the compelling stories behind the remarkable images!

TIM WALKER STORYTELLER: Fashion into Fairytales


Jonas Kesseler in blue spitfire, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, 2009

By Ruth Ansel

“For fashion photography to resonate, for people to believe in it, it has to be a real moment.” -- Tim Walker

The model-as-protagonist is the most vital component among the many that knit together to make a successful photograph says the photographic historian Robin Muir. She must in Walker’s words behave like a ‘silent movie actress’, who possesses a ‘sense of performance’. ‘You are persuading models to act; you try to show them where your inspiration comes from and hope that they understand it and relate to it. Then you all get lost in it…’ Tim Walker: Storyteller is a book about photographs that is made up of fictional narratives that turn fashion into fairy tales.Tim’s love of fashion as a means of realizing his dreams is all about telling a story. I believe every fashion shoot tells a story beyond the fashion. A story about a woman, a story about the time we live in, a story about longing and desire — in this instance a story about always seeing the world through the eyes of an irrepressible child. This process of reaching deep within his unconscious creates photographic magic. What Tim has is a simultaneous sense of elegance, wit, romance and daring. When you think all is light and sunny suddenly a surprisingly dark side emerges. A crying skeleton appears in a field of flowers with beautiful Malgosia Bela in a red wig. He conjours up all these moods with unerring intuive skill. One ingeniously crafted set after another appears in the midst of unlikely places. All this together with a ravishing palette of intensely saturated colors makes for a thrilling visual experience as the book unfolds from page to page.


Karlie Kloss on yellow brick road, Dior couture, East Sussex, 2010

In the last few years Tim has set out to explore a deliberate contrast between his subjects facing the lens in carefully arranged poses against simple backgrounds as opposed to his cinematic narratives. He is always sketching situations and scenes in his notebooks which soon come to life. He is able with a devoted team of makeup artists, painters, builders and stylists to realize his elaborate dreams– worthy of any great film director. What is amazing is that his sets are constructed life-size in real time and space.These are not manipulated images artificially created on the computer.


Tilda Swinton and aviator goggles, Yves St. Laurent, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2011

We had met briefly in New York in the mid-nineties when I worked at the Richard Avedon studio as Dick’s in-house designer and Tim was one of his lowly fourth assistants.Tim reminded me he used to silenty change the lightbulbs in my studio space and empty the “dust-bins” as he referred to the wastepaper baskets.


Malgosia Bela and Chi on motorway, Givenchy Couture, Cambridgeshire, 2010

As I recall we hardly exchanged a word, but Tim assures me we did, and continually teases me about my memory lapse. Soon after leaving the Avedon studio Tim became a creative force on the fashion scene contributing major portfolios to magazines like W, and American, British and Italian Vogue. Before a brief visit to London in the Fall of 2011, it was at the ICP Gallery’s opening celebrating Avedon’s latest fashion exhibition we really connected. Very soon after Tim asked me if I would be interested in designing his new book. I was thrilled and didn’t look back. At first it felt risky being that both of us are “hands on” kind of people working on two different continents. We knew we would have little chance to work side by side as the book progressed. Nevertheless the layouts took shape pretty quickly thanks to the computer so that everything came together with ease. The book turned out better than I could’ve imagined. It was the beginning of an ongoing alliance between a photographer and an art director that reflected our deeply held shared beliefs to never play it safe.I always believe it is the love of what you’re interested in pursuing that really matters. Without passion you cannot create something of value that truly connects with other people.Usually my experience is you never do it as well as you ought to do it—but every now and then there is an exception— and working on this book with Tim, this remarkable young master, has been that exception.

© 2013 All written content property of Ruth Ansel unless otherwise noted. © Images by Tim Walker.

Ruth Ansel made her debut as a designer as one of the youngest art directors in the history of magazines for Harper’s Bazaar in 1962. Ever since, she has pushed the boundaries of magazine design. Her Iris Nights lecture will take place on Thursday, August 8th, 2013. Learn more about Ansel on her official website, www.ruthansel.com.

See more of Tim Walkers Images in his book Tim Walker: Storyteller. To learn more about the photographer and his work visit his official website at www.timwalkerphotography.com.

A Passion For Fashion


© Neal Barr

By Neal Barr

The challenge in photographing fashion has always been to show it in its best silhouette, while enhancing its ability to move and create a pleasing shape that closely follows a models attitude and movements. If you can accomplish this, whether on a seamless background or in an exotic location, that’s everything. As a New York City fashion photographer for more than 40 years, I have generally preferred to keep my backgrounds simple, and I've always sought ways to enhance the fashion itself, through lighting effects, styling and movement.

During the past 35 years I have dedicated myself to photographing fully accessorized 1920s vintage fashion and accessories for a two-volume book project that I hope will help to serve as a reference to the rapid evolution of fashion in the remarkable roaring decade of the 20s. The fashion I'm photographing for the project is focused on everyday retail-wear, as well as the haute couture houses of 1920s Paris. To my knowledge, for the first time ever, fashion and accessories that have previously been hand illustrated, will be shown in full photographic context and color. My intention behind the project was for it serve as a fashion reference for this extraordinary and lavish decade, which will be accomplished through the publication of a two-volume book set (published by M27 Editions and slated for release in 2014), a documentary film and a full exhibit and print collection.  

The project's principal challenge has been to create "captured moments" through the use of mannequins that were styled to exhibit perfect, true-to-life anatomy. This often required the right selection of mannequin hand and head positioning, and appropriate foot stance, and in many cases an array of translucent threads were utilized to suspend the fashion in order to amplify the illusion of movement.

Much emphasis was placed on developing a series of mannequins to provide flexibility when showing a broad variety of expressions, gestures, moods, and attitudes. As an example, the mannequins were first modified by replacing all the heads with fiberglass copies of an original plaster head used for a hat display from the era. In turn, this afforded me a perfect fit for my substantial collection of cloche hats of the period. The original mannequin feet were honed down to accommodate the lower heels and smaller sizes of the period, and the upper and lower torsos were interchanged, following removal of the square torso connecting rod and replaced with a specially developed adjustable anchor and flat edge wooden balls, all to give the right body lean in reference to the lower torso. Articulated arms with interchangeable hands were used for the long sleeve garments to allow more natural movements.

This, and a bit more, are some of the project highlights I plan to share with you in my lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Neal Barr opened his photo studio in New York City in 1962, specializing in fashion and beauty assignments for magazines and advertising agencies. Between 1963-1965, Barr shot eight covers for Sports Illustrated, including boxer Cassius Clay’s first SI cover. From 1966-1974, he was a contributing photographer to Harper's Bazaar, frequently photographing the French couture collections. His Iris Nights lecture will take place on July 18, 2013. Learn more about Barr on his official website.

Helmut Newton Exhibit Opening Celebration

Last night the Photography Space feted famed photographer Helmut Newton and the launch of our latest show, Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes. The opening exhibit gala featured friends of the legendary photographer as well those who admire him and his work. Click "read more" to see some great photos from the party.


Supermodel Cindy Crawford, with her husband Rande Gerber, admire the photographs at the Photography Space.


Exhibt guest curator Manfred Heiting, co-owner of the Fahey/Klein Gallery, David Fahey, with the "Three Boys from Pasadena," George Holz, Just Loomis and Mark Arbeit.


Model and actress Nastassja Kinski, who posed for Newton in the 1980s.


Actor James Caan with Newton friend, film producer Robert Evans.


Actress/singer Mandy Moore with film and television star Minka Kelly pose in front of one of Newton's photos, which is also one of the images used in the exhibit's street banner campaign.


A group of partygoers enjoy the gala.


DJ Mathieu Schreyer entertained the crowd the entire evening.


Heiting with Annenberg Foundation Vice President and Director Charles Weingarten and Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube.
 


Photographer Neil Leifer with Pat Lanza, Director of Talent and Content for the Annenberg Space for Photography.


Crawford and Gerber take a break from the festivities to strike a pose.


Actress Bella Heathcote at the gala.


What a wonderful way to toast Helmut Newton and his legendary work! Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes opens to the public tomorrow and will show for a limited time until September 8, 2013.

Photos by Chris Weeks and Unique Nicole for the Space.

The Unpredictable World Of Celebrity Photography


© Tony Duran

By Tony Duran

What is so interesting about the world of celebrity photography is that it is so unpredictable and, quite frankly, out of the photographer's control.  My photographic style developed by shooting all kinds of celebrities in all kinds of situations.  My main partner in crime and collaborator who has given me,  without doubt, most of my tools of the trade, is Jennifer Lopez. Spontaneity, of the moment decision-making, and flexibility are the keys to capturing her larger than life persona.  Confidence in one's self as an artist has gotten me through many over the top moments and has brought me to what has ultimately led me to many memorable and iconic shots.

This shot was taken in 2002 for Jennifer’s album packaging shoot for her album, This Is Me…Then.  It was shot at the height of her romance with Ben Affleck and during all of the craziness that surrounded "Bennifer".  Jennifer's career was at a peak in all ways. I wanted the shoot to reflect what it was like to be Jennifer at that time.  My job for this two day shoot was to capture the fashion moments, the personal moments as well as the behind-the-scenes moments, all of which, were later to be included into the album packaging. I was also hired to shoot the behind-the-scenes of the making of  the “Jenny on the Block" music video..  Needless to say there was a lot to do in just a few days.  We were also shooting other magazine covers at the same time as the album shoot. It was all about managing time and being on point - very much like a sporting event.

The shot of Jennifer exiting the Bentley was an idea that Benny Medina, Jennifer's manager had at the end of the first day of the shoot.  It was shot after 10 pm and was all VERY last minute. What looks like a crowd of paparazzi are actually everyday people we recruited off of the street in New York City. We grabbed anyone we could and handed them our own equipment – all to the GREAT dismay of my first assistant, who already had a heart attack from setting up lights for an unknown shot in an entry of a hotel, in the middle of the night, in a matter of minutes.  Jennifer thought the shoot had wrapped and didn't even know the shot was going to happen.  

So at the last minute, we told her, throw on a fur coat and head down to the lobby.  She walked out the front door to see all these crazy people snapping shots and crawling on the prized Bentley.  I watched as the record label creative director practically have an aneurism! Without missing a beat, an already exhausted Jennifer simply walked to the car and immediately got into character.  And in usual form, I just shot as fast as I could capturing all of the timeless moments happening in front of me.  With Jennifer and I don't even have to speak. For the two of us, working together is like a quiet surgery in the midst of complete chaos- just a point of my finger or a look in my eye is enough to direct her into the shot.

Within minutes the shoot was over and as simply as she sauntered into the luxury car, she slid right out and walked directly to the street where her actual car was waiting to take her to the helicopter pad in Midtown so she could fly to Philadelphia to see Ben. I followed her all the way to the port with my camera with the only glitch being we had to stop the limo in order for me to get car sick because the whole time I was facing backward shooting.  All of this nuttiness to only return first thing in the morning to New York to continue the shoot.  We started our day with the front page of the New York Post showing us shooting in the carport of the hotel stating it was something completely different than it was. So typical in Jennifer's life, but kinda hysterical in the scheme of the shoot!

Tony Duran has shot for a plethora of magazines culminating in iconic photographic relationships with superstars Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt to name just a very few. His Iris Nights lecture will take place on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 6:30pm.

Model Sylvia Gobbel On Working With Helmut Newton

Self-Portrait with Wife and Models, Vogue Studios, Paris 1981

©Estate of Helmut Newton

By Sylvia Gobbel

The first time I met Helmut Newton was when my agency sent me to a casting call for French Vogue for the haute couture summer collections which were shot by Helmut Newton. I was 19 and had been in Paris for just two weeks. A long line of beautiful models was waiting to be recieved by the master and suddenly Helmut stood up, looked at me and asked me to step forward….He interviewed me about my origins and since I’m Austrian, we started to speak German immediatly together. Helmut spoke a very fine and charming upperclass German from Berlin, which pleased my ear.

He told me that he would love to shoot the haute couture French Vogue with me but was much more interested in seeing if I would like to shoot some nudes for his next book. I had never posed nude before, but, since I loved his work, I accepted right away.

Helmut was tired that day; he just had his third heart attack and he was in convalescents.

Soon we shot for French Vogue and, a few days after, our first nude titled Sylvia In My Studio. At that time Helmut still had his studio in Paris (rue de L’Abbé de l’Epée), where he was living with his wife June. After makeup and hair, just so I wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of everyone, Helmut sent everybody else home. The only person who remained with us was June, who made the shoot really comfortable for me.

June and Helmut were the most loving couple I’ve ever met. Such a complicity, so much sense of humor and tenderness…

We worked until late at night and we shot a great pic standing at the window, while it was dark outside….I had to wear very high heel shoes, such as Louboutins, but in the eighties you only could find those kind of shoes in Pigalle, the shopping and working area for prostitutes and transvestites. Helmut loved to go shopping in that neighborhood for his shoots, because he could find all kinds of strange accessories for his work.

After that first shoot I had the chance to work with Helmut quite a bit. I was his muse for a few years…You can see many of the nudes that we did together at Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes, currently at the Annenberg Space for Photography. I also had the chance to be on the cover of his book, Big Nudes (published in 1981) which he dedicated to me. We shot lots of campaigns together such as VERSACE POMELLATO AMICA..etc. I lost contact with Helmut once I stopped working as a model. My biggest regret is that I didn’t meet him one last time to thank him for everything he did for me.

Images of Sylvia Gobbel modeling for Helmut Newton can be seen in Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes. For more information about Gobbel, please see her official website here.

 

Helmut Newton: And Behind Every Great Man

© Estate of Helmut Newton

By Vibeke Knudsen

Rue Aubriot is one of the most enduring photographs I have had the privilege of being a part of.

It was the last shot in a series of photographs for the collections for French Vogue. Working with Helmut Newton was always “charged," as he was a god among fashion photographers.

The shoot took place at night. That was the only time that the collections were available for photography. We had breezed through the other shots and it was about 2 am when we pulled up in front of Helmut’s studio to do this last shot in the street.

As I came out of the (small) mini van, where we changed outfits, and stood under a single streetlight, it very quickly became clear that the energy had shifted and heightened.

It wasn’t just that the photographer was Helmut, the editor for the shoot was Francine Cressant, the hairdresser was Alexandre (lui meme), the makeup artist Jacques Clement, and that the suit being shot was a perfect example of YSL - at his best. It was, indeed, a collaboration of masters of their trade… and then there was a moment of magic thrown in. It seemed that we were all aware that something special was attached to the moment.

Helmut insisted on shooting with the streetlight only, which meant I had to stand completely still for two seconds - that’s a long time in stilettoes on cobblestones!

At this point, the atmosphere was that of total focus. No one but Helmut spoke.

While he was shooting, Helmut asked us all to come back the following night. He was already planning his next shot. He wanted me to use the same pose with a nude model (Aya) standing next to me. I was asked to wear the same suit. Aya was not completely nude in this shot; she wore high heels and a hat with a veil. Helmut included both shots in his book, White Women.

Since then, the two photographs have often appeared side by side. They have remained relevant, modern and perfectly classic.

There have been many attempts to replicate this photo, many ”inspirations” to ”duplicate” this photo. I have been part of a few indirect homages and even when they were beautiful, they have always fallen short.

Such is the special vision, focus and quality of Helmut Newton. All hail to the king!

And as for ”behind every great man, stands a great woman.” Never was this more true than in the collaboration of Helmut and June. June Newton, aka Alice Springs, was Helmut’s muse, inspiration and partner. June is a wonderful photographer in her own right and Helmut was her greatest fan. The woman behind Helmut was a part of his greatness.

I feel very fortunate to have worked as much as I did with Helmut Newton and very proud to be the model in Rue Aubriot. Thank you Helmut, thank you June.

Vibeke Knudsen was born in Denmark and has worked as a model in Europe and America for 40 years. In the 70's she often worked with Helmet Newton and considers herself fortunate to have collaborated with many of her profession's most gifted photographers. She now spends her time traveling. See this image and over 100 others at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes.

'Digital Darkroom' Film Wins Award

Congratulations to Arclight Productions on their recent win at the New Media Film Festival here in Los Angeles. Their film, Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D won Best in Category for 3D Content. The short documentary film was presented exclusively at the Annenberg Space for Photography's Digital Darkroom exhibition.

The 4th annual New Media Film Festival was held on June 11 & 12, 2013 at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles.

Watch Digital Darkroom: The Art of 3D (in either 3D and 2D!) in its entirety here.

Helmut Newton Arrives June 29th!

Our next exhibit is the very first solo show at the Annenberg Space for Photography and boy is it a doozy. Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes presents the work of one of the most revolutionary and influential photographers of the past century. Newton's provocative images of women brought eroticism to fashion photography. In his photos, art, fashion, subverison and aspiration collide. The exhibit opens on Saturday June 29, 2013.

Watch the video teaser above for a sneak peek of the show.

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