The crowd at photographer helmut newton's show isn't what one usually finds at an exhibition of fashion photography. Sure, there are some beautiful people-fashion editors, models and photographers-but there are also a suspiciously large number of men in trenchcoats. The site of the show, London's Barbican Centre, is near the financial district, but it's hard to imagine that these middle-aged, white-collar workers just stumbled upon the third-floor exhibition, called "Work," during a lunchtime stroll. No, the truth is that the work for which Newton is best-known-photographs of tall, domineering and scantily clad women-draws the admiration not only of the chic fashion set, but also of perverts.
Newton doesn't mind. In the 1980s the Berlin-born Australian citizen (he now lives in Monte Carlo) tried his hand at pornography, shooting for the likes of Playboy. And he has proclaimed that he intends to become less politically correct as he gets older. He turned 80 last year and is selling better than ever. Last month "Sex and Landscapes," the first commercial sale of Newton's work in two years, opened at the De Pury et Luxembourg Art gallery in Zurich. Even before the opening, some 40 prints sold for $30,000 each. Later this year the Mary Boone Gallery in New York will also have a Newton sale, making it the art dealer's first photography offering. At De Pury is some of the usual titillating stuff, but also 54 landscapes never displayed before. "They're actually quite romantic," Newton says. "It is the first time I do something romantic."