Is your surname Newton?

Research the Newton family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Helmut Newton (Neustädter)

Also Known As: "Helmut Newton ( photographer )"
Birthplace: Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Death: January 23, 2004 (83)
West Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, United States (Traffic colllision)
Place of Burial: Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Max Neustädter and Klara "Claire" Neustädter
Husband of June Newton Newton
Brother of Hans Neustädter

Managed by: Alexandra Elizabeth Bryk
Last Updated:

About Helmut Newton


Helmut Newton (born Helmut Neustädter; 31 October 1920 – 23 January 2004) was a German-Australian photographer. He was a "prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications."[1]

Newton was born in Berlin, the son of Klara "Claire" (née Marquis) and Max Neustädter, a button factory owner.[2] His family was Jewish.[3] Newton attended the Heinrich-von-Treitschke-Realgymnasium and the American School in Berlin. Interested in photography from the age of 12 when he purchased his first camera, he worked for the German photographer Yva (de) (Elsie Neulander Simon) from 1936.

The increasingly oppressive restrictions placed on Jews by the Nuremberg laws meant that his father lost control of the factory in which he manufactured buttons and buckles; he was briefly interned in a concentration camp on Kristallnacht, 9 November 1938, which finally compelled the family to leave Germany. Newton's parents fled to South America. He was issued with a passport just after turning 18 and left Germany on 5 December 1938. At Trieste he boarded the Conte Rosso (along with about 200 others escaping the Nazis), intending to journey to China. After arriving in Singapore he found he was able to remain there, first briefly as a photographer for the Straits Times and then as a portrait photographer.

Newton was interned by British authorities while in Singapore, and was sent to Australia on board the Queen Mary, arriving in Sydney on 27 September 1940.[4] Internees travelled to the camp at Tatura, Victoria by train under armed guard. He was released from internment in 1942, and briefly worked as a fruit picker in Northern Victoria. In April 1942, he enlisted with the Australian Army and worked as a truck driver. After the war in 1945, he became a British subject and changed his name to Newton in 1946. In 1948, he married actress June Browne, who performed under the stage name June Brunell. She later became a successful photographer under the ironic pseudonym Alice Springs (after Alice Springs, the central Australian town).

In 1946, Newton set up a studio in fashionable Flinders Lane in Melbourne and worked on fashion and theatre photography in the affluent post-war years. He shared his first joint exhibition in May 1953 with Wolfgang Sievers, a German refugee like himself who had also served in the same company. The exhibition of 'New Visions in Photography' was displayed at the Federal Hotel in Collins Street and was probably the first glimpse of New Objectivity photography in Australia. Newton went into partnership with Henry Talbot, a fellow German Jew who had also been interned at Tatura, and his association with the studio continued even after 1957, when he left Australia for London. The studio was renamed 'Helmut Newton and Henry Talbot'.

Newton's growing reputation as a fashion photographer was rewarded when he secured a commission to illustrate fashions in a special Australian supplement for Vogue magazine, published in January 1956. He won a 12-month contract with British Vogue and left for London in February 1957, leaving Talbot to manage the business. Newton left the magazine before the end of his contract and went to Paris, where he worked for French and German magazines. He returned to Melbourne in March 1959 to a contract for Australian Vogue.

Newton settled in Paris in 1961 and continued work as a fashion photographer. His works appeared in magazines including, most significantly, French Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. He established a particular style marked by erotic, stylised scenes, often with sado-masochistic and fetishistic subtexts. A heart attack in 1970 slowed Newton's output, but his notoriety continued to increase, most notably with his 1980 "Big Nudes" series, which marked the pinnacle of his erotic-urban style, underpinned with excellent technical skills. Newton also worked in portraiture and more fantastical studies.

Newton shot a number of pictorials for Playboy, including pictorials of Nastassja Kinski and Kristine DeBell.[5] Original prints of the photographs from his August 1976 pictorial of DeBell, "200 Motels, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation" were sold at auctions of Playboy archives by Bonhams in 2002 for $21,075,[6] and by Christies in December 2003 for $26,290.[7]

In 2009, June Browne Newton conceptualised a tribute exhibition to Helmut based around three photographers who had trained extensively under Helmut: Mark Arbeit, Just Loomis, and George Holz. All three had been photography students at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1979 when they became Newton's longtime assistants, and all three went on to independent careers. The exhibit premiered at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin and combined the work of all three with personal snapshots, contact sheets, and letters from their time with Helmut.[8]

In his later life, Newton lived in both Monte Carlo and Los Angeles, California. He was in an accident on 23 January 2004, when his car sped out of control and hit a wall in the driveway of the Chateau Marmont Hotel, which had for several years served as his residence in Southern California. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.[1] His ashes are buried next to Marlene Dietrich at the Städtischer Friedhof III in Berlin. Helmut Newton Museum

After his death, World Without Men was published.

Published works

   Marshall Blonsky & Helmut Newton, Private Property, Schirmer Art Books, 1989
   Guy Featherstone, 'Helmut Newton's Australian years', in The La Trobe Journal, The State Library of Victoria Foundation, No 76, Spring, 2005
   Klaus Honnef & Helmut Newton, Helmut Newton: Portraits, Schirmer Art Books, 1986
   Klaus Neumann, In the Interest of National Security: Civilian Internment in Australia during World War II, Canberra: National Archives of Australia, 2006.
   Helmut Newton, White Women, New York: Congreve, 1976
   Helmut Newton, Sleepless Nights, New York: Congreve, 1978
   Helmut Newton, Big Nudes, Paris: Editions du Regard, 1981
   Helmut Newton, They're Coming!, Paris: French Vogue, 1981
   Helmut Newton, World Without Men, New York: Xavier Moreau, 1984
   Helmut Newton & June Newton, Helmut Newton Work, edited by Manfred Heiting, Taschen, 2000
   Helmut Newton, Sumo, Taschen, 2000
   Helmut Newton, Autobiography, Nan A. Talese, 2003
   Helmut Newton, A Gun for Hire, edited by June Newton, Taschen, 2005
   Helmut Newton, Playboy: Helmut Newton, Chronicle Books (2005)



Picture of Added by Olaf Woessner Picture of Added by Frank K. Helmut Newton BIRTH 31 Oct 1920 Berlin-Mitte, Mitte, Berlin, Germany DEATH 23 Jan 2004 (aged 83) West Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA BURIAL Friedhof Schöneberg III Friedenau, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany MEMORIAL ID 8309362 · View Source

MEMORIAL PHOTOS 5 FLOWERS 132 Famous for his decadent photography, Newton was a controversial, but clearly groundbreaking photographer. A German Jew whose family was broken up by the Nazis, Newton, born in 1920 in Berlin lived an exciting and terrifying life. The product of a privileged German family, he bought his first camera at age 12 and was immediately in love with the aperture. Apprenticed to Yva, the great fashion photographer, Helmut learned his art well and dreamed of becoming a photographer for Vogue magazine. But before long, he fled Germany and the Nazi rule. Young Helmut went to Singapore; his parents sailed to South America. This split forced him into an independent and nomadic life. A handsome, dashing figure, he was honest about his period working as a gigolo, his time in an Australian prison camp because of his expired German passport, his years in the Australian army and his ongoing passion for photography. He married his wife, June, then got his big break in 1961, when he joined French Vogue. Newton became famous for his erotic and risque photos of nudes. In 1976, he published White Women, a amazing book that established him as one of the greats in fashion photography history. So brilliant and stylish were Newton's images, they became a Vogue hallmark. He wrote an autobiography that was highly revealing and compelling to read. He died on Friday, January 23, 2004 as he left his residence at the Chateau Marmont (same hotel that John Belushi was found dead) in West Los Angeles, California. He was killed when his Cadillac SUV slammed into a wall just outside the gate of the hotel.

Bio by: Christian

view all

Helmut Newton's Timeline

October 31, 1920
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
January 23, 2004
Age 83
West Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Städtischer Friedhof Schöneberg III, Berlin, Berlin, Germany