Who was Helmut Newton?-Global Images

Helmut Newton is regarded to be one of the most prolific and widly imitated fashion photographers. He was born in berlin in 1920 to Klara and Max Neustädter, a jewish family. Showing interest in photography early on, he took an apprenticeship with portrait and nude photographer yva in 1936 at the age of 12 and worked two years before leaving germany in 1938.

Newton's family was affected by the antisemitic nuremberg Laws and they were forced to close their button factory. his father was briefly imprisoned on the infamous kristallnacht on november 9th, 1938.

Although he was intended to go to argentina with his mother, the 18 year old newton was forced to travel instead to china due to difficulties with his visa. while aboard the Conte Rosso, he met and mingled with older married women and was eventually convinced by the passenger welfare committee to stay in singapore. it was there that was hired to work as a reporter and photographer for the straits times, which he recalls "i was thrown out after two weeks 'cause i was no bloody good!". in addition to this work, he was also a gigolo to an older woman.

Although he was adjusting to his new life in singapore, in 1940 he was interned by british authorities and was sent to australia aboard the queen mary. The war was escalating; both french and belgian armies threatening invasions to british countries. the number of refugees became overwhelming for the british government. On july 1st, 1940, Australia agreed to accept 6,000 internees. newton arrived to the sydney harbor with hundreds of other refugees and soldiers on september 25th.

Although the situation was stressful, his experience aboard the queen mary was a pleasant one: "we were treated beautifully. We had printed menus with the ship on them, just like proper passengers".

Until newton joined the australian army in 1942, he spent his first few years working as a fruit picker in country towns outside of sydney. He served the victorian army for five years. He was discharged on august 6th 1946 and paid £100. on december 4th, he legally changed his last name Neustädter, to newton.

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July 24, 2019 — Katie Dessin

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