Like all good students of photography I go around the occasional gallery or pop into art shops to try and find inspiration; to look at the work of other photographers and try to figure out what I like, what I don’t like and how I want my own work to look.
While in Berlin I visited The Helmut Newton Foundation. I knew nothing about him and still know very little.
Something that put me off the exhibition and wanting to know more about this photographer was a diary entry that stated he should open a museum to himself.
It just didn’t sit right with me. Not just the statement; on its own it could be taken very much as tongue-in-cheek but I got the impression it was not a light hearted diary entry and that he may well have been a very vein person.
The lay out and atmosphere in the gallery may not have anything thing to do with him and he is clearly a good photographer. Clearly!
However I quickly became aware that I was not going to walk out of the building as a fan. The opposite is probably true. There is a very fine line between confidence, over confidence and arrogance.
While I find the cover image below to be nothing more than a bit of harmless fun that is a bit cheeky (Sorry but I am a child of the 70s & 80s) the rest of his work left me feeling a little cold.
There seems to be a definite arrogance towards women where females were nothing but objects and treated like mannequins. I have tried to rationalise just how sexist his work appeared to me, as part of ‘that generation’ but again, it just doesn’t sit right me.
Something about the work displayed sat very uncomfortably with me and I hope my work never leaves anyone feeling as cold.
I should perhaps research him a little more as I may well be doing him a dreadful injustice but this wasn’t a first impression judgment made in thirty seconds. I spent a fair bit of time in the gallery.
For now my personal opinion stands and rather than looking at more of his work I should be out taking my own photos.
(I am happy to be corrected on this post and would welcome direction to sites you think would make me better informed).
Jim Jimmy James.