Famed German Photographer Killed in L.A. Car Crash
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – German-born photographer Helmut Newton, whose stark, often sadomasochistic portraits of nude women in chains and bonds won him acclaim and revulsion, was killed in a car accident in Hollywood on Friday, police said.
Newton, 83, was pulling out of a parking lot at the Chateau Marmont Hotel just off Sunset Boulevard at about noon when he lost control of the Cadillac he was driving and crashed into a wall, Los Angeles Police Department officer April Harding said.
The car sustained major damage, and Newton died of his injuries a short time later at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, she said, adding the accident remained under investigation. No one else was reported hurt in the wreck.
The accident brought to an abrupt end a celebrated photography career spanning eight decades.
Born in Berlin in 1920 to Jewish parents, Newton was apprenticed to a society photographer in 1936 and fled Germany two years later for Singapore, then settled in Australia, where he served in the army and worked as a fashion photographer before returning to Europe in 1957. After making his home in Paris for many years, he moved to Monte Carlo in 1980.
Admittedly color blind, he once joked that his difficulty distinguishing yellow from green and green from blue was “why I take very good color pictures.”
But it was the often shocking, coldly stylistic nature of his images, printed in Vogue and other fashion magazines, for which Newton was renowned.
His specialty was sharply focused female nudes, often Amazonian women with hints of sexual deviancy, danger and fetishism. He photographed women wearing dog collars, chains and even saddles.
In one notorious shot that outraged Italian jeweler Bulgari, he photographed their diamonds and sapphires on the wrists of a model engaged in dismembering a chicken.
Men in his photos typically appeared in servile roles, as waiters, chauffeurs or mere onlookers.
His work outraged many and feminists protested one of his exhibits by throwing paint on his photos.