When this exhibition passed through Paris in 2012, I gave it a miss. Our plan to live half-time in Berlin was still a pipe dream of mine and I'd always felt slightly offended that Newton's leggy nudes in high heels attracted anyone's attention.
But now we're living Berlin-Paris and I had not yet visited the Museum für Fotografie. So yesterday, dodging hail and sleet, I took the S-Bahn to Zoologischer Garten.
The neo-classical building is handsome, its interior cavernous and grand. It's easy to imagine German officers, for whom it was originally built as a mess hall, when they weren't up to more sinister activities, smoking their cigars and being entertained by leggy nudes in high heels.
Good choice for a home to the Helmut Newton Foundation. In fact, with this exhibition and the adjunct 'Helmut Newton's Private Property' (his office is reproduced; we see his clothes, his cameras, the medals he was awarded...), it's practically a temple to the man.
Besides the 1930's-style decadence that suffuses Newton's work, there isn't much 'Berlin' in the exhibtion. Most photos were taken in France or LA. Beyond the kinky slickness, it's all forme, sans fonds. He said it best himself:
«Nee, es gibt keine Innenseite meiner Bilder. Ich mache auch keine Kunstfotografie.»
Right decision in 2012.