REPRESENTATION OF FEMININE NATURE IN HELMUT NEWTON AND LILLIAN BASSMAN WORKS Before I begin to discuss the specific techniques Lillian Bassman and Helmut Newton used in their works to reveal feminine nature in their photographs, it is important to provide an overview of some of the most relevant existing studies on photography, media, body image, fashion, and the role of women in the photography…
Lillian Bassman and Helmut Newton are two of the greatest fashion photographers of the twentieth century. Each of them have used their own, specific techniques to achieve success in the field of photography, in particular female photography. The history and styles unique to each will be discussed below, in addition to relevant samples of their work. This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the works of Helmut Newton and Lillian Bassman and concurrently, compares their vision of females, their way of presenting them and how it influences the potential viewer. The first chapter of my final analysis will illustrate Helmut Newton’s works, his achievements and his representation of ‘feminine nature’. The second chapter contains a short biography of Lillian Bassman and an explanation of her photographic techniques and her perception of the female. Finally, the last chapter will sum up all the theories, photographic works, and perceptions as well as compare the common idea of the works shared between the photographers. NEWTON The female nude as fashion. A shot in which the form of a woman becomes in its own right a fashion statement. To use not a truly nude image but one in which a woman's body becomes a stylistic choice. This characterization can be said to be representative of the works of Helmut Newton; as well as Lillian Bassman, as exemplified by their work while at Harper's Bazaar. Bassman in particular was able to not only use her time at the magazine to advance her own prospects, but is credited to have advanced the careers of other fashion-notablies, such as Avedon, Faurer, and Frank. (VanZanten, 2010) Her monochromatic style is a art form she shared with Newton, yet others seemed to have found greater value in her Harper's Bazaar career than she herself; having destroyed 40 years of her own negatives and prints when fashion photography became less vogue, (or she perceived it as less vogue). While less self-destructive, Newton's mark on the magazine also served an inspirational role, which - while less explicit than certain modern artists, he became a gatekeeper, or trail-blazer whose avant-garde efforts opened the door for others. The imagery Newton brought to the magazine mingled classic images of the female as a vessel for desire, along with an expressive fire kindled by a uniquely female drive, proactive intent - as will be discussed below. A cursory examination of Newton's style will allow for a semblance of the woman as a focal point for incidental beauty, yet with an underlying current of inner strength as revealed by the embrace of the full power of the feminine mystique. His work for the magazine carries the self-styled label 'porno-chic', and for the most extreme of feminist activists, his sort of visual provocation might carry the label 'anti-Christ', and warranted in the minds of some activists the defacing of a production with thrown paint. (Newton, 2002) On the other hand, Lillian Bassman uses completely different ways of attraction; she draws attention to the female body and how it can change the perception of the photograph. In a book by Liz Wells there are several debates, which introduce key concepts of photographic body. Solomon-Godeau suggests that ‘we need to consider not only how photographs present women’ ...
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