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.