The fashion of Helmut Newton and Bettina Rheims
Over 50 works by two iconic fashion photographers, from the Gallery’s photography collection.
The work of Helmut Newton (1920-2004) and Bettina Rheims (1952- ) during the late 20th century was pivotal to the progression of fashion imagery into the 21st century.
Despite the generation difference, both photographers explored the construction of gender identity through their photography. They challenged the conventional representations of women, but also – particularly in Rheims’ case – men.
The Art Gallery of NSW has a significant collection of Helmut Newton photographs. The 20 works in this exhibition are taken from the most important period of his career, the 1970s and 80s. Newton is exemplary in his ability to expose the intimate connections between sex, clothes, gender, class, voyeurism and photography itself in his representations of women.
Also on display are more than 30 photographs from Bettina Rheims’ series Modern Lovers 1990. This celebrated series marked an important shift in Rheims’ work, which had previously focused on a much more conventionally feminine depiction of women. In Modern Lovers, however, Rheims employs a neutral grey background and uses models scouted from the street, the oldest of whom was 20, to depict an androgynous image of youth.