In recent times, about once per year I stumble upon a photographer that fundamentally changes how I view photos entirely and again this epiphany is prompted by who other than Scott Sternbach. From front to back; production, casting, choice of lighting, film usage, focal length, gear etc. Helmut Newton is a photographer that seems to be one of a kind.
While there were many others that created fashion images Helmut was the only person to successfully bring bold nudity
into mainstream publications like Harpers Bazaar and Vogue US. I believe this was due to his ability to never allow his nude images to promote vulgarity. There was always a certain level of class and creativity to his images that straddled the line between creative genius and photographic perversion.
I noticed throughout the film Newton used all formats, everything between 8x10 and 35mm for his images but after I did a bit more research on Newton I uncovered one of his assistants throughout his peak publication years on the internet remarking on how Newton preferred 35mm as a working format. For black and white he mostly used Tri-X 400 and all of his colour work was done on Ektachrome. I don’t know of any other photographers that exclusively shot Ektachrome like he did as most photographers chose the world renowned Kodachrome instead. Something else that interested me was his approach to working with his girls. His style of directing seemed both very hands off and very involved simultaneously, his assistant said it would sometimes take him 2 hours to go through just a single roll of film.
Growing up in Germany during the Nazi years Helmut Newton was shaped in ways few people could understand but thanks to both the good and the bad, the world was granted a once in a generation photographer.