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July 27, 2008

Helmut Newton Foundation

At The Helmut Newton Foundation on Jebensstrasse the current exhibition on display is Pigozzi and the paparazzi.

From the exhibition's program:

Jean Pigozzi, the photographer included in the exhibition title, has been able to cultivate the kind of intensive and intimate relationship with the rich and the famous that is so desperately sought after by the paparazzi at large. Being befriended with many famous people in the international social and cultural scene, he has been making candid portraits of prominent individuals at private locations since the 1970’s. An unusual aspect of his work is his double portrait series Pigozzi & Co. In this ongoing project he appears together with a musician or an actor friend, the two posed with their heads, often touching, in a close-cropped composition. These are images from daily life, in which Pigozzi poses as friend and fan.

There were also some awesome pictures by Newton that I haven't seen before.

In his autobiography Newton wrote that after he saw Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita starring Anita Ekberg, he became interested in the phenomenon of the paparazzi. In 1970 he travelled to Rome to work with “real” paparazzi. As part of a commission for the fashion magazine Linea Italiana, Newton hired a few of them to pose with his models. In Newton’s unconventional approach the photographers were asked to treat the model as if she were a famous person. An interesting aspect of Newton’s work is the combination of multiple real elements, such as the model, the fashion and the paparazzi, on the one hand, with the staging of the photograph on the other.

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Clandestine shot of the famous Big Nudes series exhibited in the staircase. Richard Reens, Berlin, 2008.

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Richard almost made the universe cancel itself out by taking paparazzo pictures of me looking at pictures of paparazzi taken by other paparazzi. Richard Reens, Berlin, 2008.

If you are in Berlin and have a couple of hours to spend, pay a visit to the HNF. It's handily placed in Ku'Damm area and beside Newton's works, cameras and props, there are other photo exhibitions, a wonderful bookstore and a Café Einstein ready to provide for that raging caffeine addiction of yours.

But, um, you're not allowed to take pictures.

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