SUMO is an epic limited edition book that pays tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most influential and controversial photographers, Helmut Newton. At the time of its release in 1999, it was the most expensive book production in the twentieth century. Measuring at 50 x 70 cm and weighing 30 kg, it contains 464 pages of a wide selection of images, most of which are published for the first time, covering every aspect of Newton’s phenomenal career in photography. His work ranged from spectacular fashion photographs, which raised the bar for generations of photographers to follow, to elaborate nudes and celebrity portraits.
To accommodate the back-breaking weight of this colossal tome, a unique device for its display at home was designed by Philippe Starck.
Helmut Newton (1920-2004) was born in Berlin and arrived in Australia in 1940. While working primarily for French Vogue in the 1970’s, he achieved international fame and his influence grew over the decades. Newton preferred to shoot in streets or interiors, rather than studios, and eye-brow raising scenarios, bold lighting and striking compositions came to form his signature look. In 1990, he was awarded the Grand Prix nationale de la photographie and in 1992, the German government awarded him Das Grosse Verdienstkreuz for services to German culture, and he was appointed Officier des Arts, Lettres et Sciences by S.A.S Princess Caroline of Monaco. In 1996, he was appointed Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Minister of Culture at the time.
He lived and worked with his wife until his death at 83. His images will forever hold a distinctive and timeless charm.
Here is some of his incredible work.