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Fashion world mourns Helmut Newton

January 25, 2004
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The fashion world has lost one of its most celebrated and controversial figures after photographer Helmut Newton died on Friday. The renowned artist was driving through Los Angeles with his wife of 55 years when he lost control of his car and crashed into a wall. He was 83 years old.

Over the years Helmut had become one of the great masters of fashion photography. Born in Berlin in 1920, he fled Germany in 1938 to escape persecution for being Jewish. His stark nudes and erotic compositions subsequently earned him a reputation as the art form's most daring and uncompromising fantasist.

"He was a friend and mentor," said former supermodel Claudia Schiffer after learning of his death. "Through him I learned what a great photographer is. I will miss him." German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has meanwhile told the snapper's widow, June, that a new gallery in Berlin will pay tribute to his work.

But it was Vogue editor Anna Wintour who best summed up her collaborator's contribution to the fashion industry. "His photographs had more of a signature than any photographer I can think of," she said. "They would soar off the page. The Helmut Newton woman has become part of the vocabulary of fashion photography. Like a great designer, he didn't waver from his point of view. Fashion would change, but Helmut's vision didn't."

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Photo: ©
The elder statesman of photography also turned his talents to snapping some of the political world's most renowned figuresPhoto: © PAy
Photo: ©
A gallery worker hanging some of Helmut's portraits himself became the subject of an amusing compositionPhoto: © AFP

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