Bowing to beauty

City-West is becoming a hub for modern photography in Germany, and the Museum of Photography and C/O-Berlin are its focal points. On display is the legacy of the renowned photographer Helmut Newton.

Strong, self-confident, independent – this is how the “Big Nudes”, photographs of five naked women in the foyer of the Museum of Photography present themselves. Ironically, Helmut Newton hung them exactly where once portraits of military officials used to hang in the former Landwehr officer’s mess. This is a key component of Newton’s work – he loved to display his models with a cheeky wink and with a pinch of nudity, sass and glamour. Helmut Newton was born in Berlin in 1920 as Helmut Neustädter, the son of a Jewish manufacturer. He had it all: he was in bed with Andy Warhol, went swimming with Elizabeth Taylor, and photographed Catherine Deneuve while her husband held a gun in her face. Just before the Second World War, Newton fled from the Nazis to Australia via Singapore with a suitcase that consisted of nothing more than a couple of socks, shirts and suits – and two cameras. Later, he went to the US, where he became a celebrity photographer for jet setters, the Hollywood dream factory and covers of fashion magazines.

His legacy is presented by the Museum of Photography at the Zoologischer Garten train station, exactly the location that was, according to anecdotes, his last memory of Berlin. In the “Permanent Loan Selection”, portraits, nudes and fashion shots are displayed in separate spaces. In addition, the Kaisersaal hosts a collection of images from the 19th and 20th centuries selected by the Kunstbibliothek: from 24 April 2015, the photos by the photographer Willy Maywald from Cologne, one of the most important photographers in Paris from the 1930s to the 1960s, are on display.

According to the Helmut Newton Foundation, more than 1.3 million people have visited the location since its opening in 2004, soon after Newton himself passed away in a tragic car accident. More than 100 posters, countless publications and the temporary exhibition of 200 photographs on the first floor reveal his striking nudes and portraits: a bow to feminine beauty and a homage to masculine fame in popular culture.

The foundation is confident that the flow of visitors will not tail off in the near future. To ensure this, spokeswoman Nadine Dinter explains that close collaboration is underway with the second photography institution in the building and with the new neighbour, C/O Berlin. At the moment, City-West is home to a photography hub with no equal in Germany. Time and again, temporary exhibitions featuring Newton’s contemporaries, such as Frank Horvat and Szymon Brodziak in summer 2015, succeed in attracting visitors. "We haven’t yet unveiled all of Newton’s treasures”, promises the Helmut Newton Foundation, with the exciting prospect that “in the future, we’ll be displaying many more works that have never been seen before."

Museum of Photography
Jebensstraße 2
10623 Berlin (behind Zoologischer Garten train station)

Telephone: 266 42 42 42

Entry fee: 10 Euro (ticket for the entire house), discounted 5 Euro


Opening hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 10 am to 6 pm
Thursday: 10 am to 8 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11 am to 6 pm

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