Avant-garde Newton's Star Burns Bright

Avant-garde Newton's Star Burns Bright

The moment I hit Paris I knew this was it, for living and taking photographs. The life was in the streets, in cafes, restaurants. - Helmut Newton, SUMO

Fashion photographer Helmut Newton is known the world over for his distinctive photographs that blend European chic with sculptural representations of female body. A new exhibition presented by the Grand Palais from March 24, 2012 to June 17, 2012 gathers 200 shots of various sizes and formats taken over a period of 60 years. Just steps away from the Hotel Powers, visitors can discover how the German-born iconoclast's artistic vision rocked the world of fashion photography. Surprisingly, despite Newton's adoration of the City of Light, this is the first Parisian retrospective of his work since his death almost 10 years ago.

But better late than never. And the sumptuous avenues of Paris's 8th Arrondissement—neighborhood of the Grand Palais—provide an ideal setting for Newton's body of work, which humorously plays with notions of money, power and sex. It is only natural that the photographer, who considered himself to be a professional voyeur of sorts, felt at home in a city teeming with inhabitants who live to be seen. This penchant for voyeurism is apparent in his images of stolen moments with beautiful people in cloistered VIP settings. As for Newton's more provocative works, carefully posed nude bodies are often constrained by fetishistic objects whose sole purpose seems to be to evoke a reaction. The photographer's work may not suit all tastes, but it will certainly not leave visitors indifferent.

As a special bonus, visitors can also watch Helmut by June, an hour-long film conceived entirely by the late artist's wife, with whom he shared a matrimonial bond for 56 years, right up until his death in early 2004—a curiously sweet tribute to this controversial but beloved figure who claimed Paris as his professional playground.