Study – Helmut Newton

Thank god for the Grand Palais and their foresight to extend the current Helmut Newton exhibit an extra month (just for me, right?). I finally made it over there, four months or so late.

It was actually extremely comfortable to sketch at the exhibit because of the light and seating arrangement. It’s more than you can say for many museums.

Helmut Newton “Here They Come I and II” from “Big Nudes”

Helmut Newton is basically a photo god. The guy does fairly small setups and shoots with very little equipment. He only takes a few frames of film because he sets up the shot exactly as he wants it. As a budding photographer, I’ve been struggling with my own feelings of equipment inadequacy; you easily get discouraged into thinking you’d be a better photographer if only you had x expensive equipment. Newton’s approach really makes you rethink that notion and yet, there’s still the voice in your head that says that you really can’t get that particular shot without those six HMI’s.

Also, Helmut’s a genius. Of course he doesn’t need equipment. It’s a difficult balancing act to be both inspired by Newton’s work, but also to not be discouraged by it. He’s just SO good, without any strings attached, that you wonder how you can possibly do any good with the same setup.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Better to copy your heros and learn from derivation, than to never try at all. He had a great quote that said something along the lines of (paraphrasing), “A great fashion photograph is one that is anything but a fashion photograph”.

Also, I vow to start shooting film again. SOON.

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