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What We Learned This Week: June Newton, Photography Legend, Dies at 97

By David Schonauer   Friday April 16, 2021


June Newton was a photo legend married to a photo legend.  

Newton, the Australian-born, globetrotting portrait photographer and wife of the late photographer Helmut Newton, died at her home in Monte Carlo on April 9. She was 97. Under her own name she worked on the design and publication of art books by her husband, who died in 2004. But as Alice Springs she was one of the most sought-after photographers in Europe and the United States, noted Vanity Fair.

“The roster of artists, actors and musicians depicted by Alice Springs over the last 40 years reads like a who’s who of the international cultural scene on both sides of the Atlantic,” stated the Berlin-based Helmut Newton Foundation.

Born June Brown in Melbourne, Australia, in 1923, June Newton studied acting and in 1947 met Helmut Newton, a Jewish refugee who fled Germany at 18, who had a photography studio in Melbourne. The pair married in the following year. After relocating to Paris and returning the Melbourne, they moved to France in the early 1960s. As her husband’s career took off, she quit acting. And then one day in the 1970s, when he came down with the flu, she filled in for him on an advertising job for Gitanes cigarettes, using the name Alice Springs (the name of a town in Australia).

She then began a photography career of her own, shooting a list of celebrities that would eventually include Nicole Kidman, Diana Vreeland, Yves Saint Laurent, William S. Burroughs, Charlotte Rampling, Grace Jones, and Audrey Hepburn, noted VF. She also appeared in her husband’s images.

In 1981, June and Helmut Newton moved to Monte Carlo, reported ABC News, and in1998 the pair published the book Us and Them, which featured their photos of one another. In 2004, the year of her husband's death, June Newton opened the Helmut Newton Foundation in a "former Prussian officer’s casino" in Berlin. In 2007, she directed the documentary Helmut by June, which aired on HBO.

Here are some of the other photo stories we spotlighted this week:
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1.   March Highlights From American Photography Open 2021

The AP Open competition has come roaring back. In March, we announced the launch of American Photography Open 2021, the fourth edition of our photo contest open to images made by photographers at any level using any kind of equipment, and the first month of the competition saw entries coming in from around the world. On Monday we featured several images that caught the attention of our judges — including Sechelt, British Columbia-based photographer Pam Mullins’s shot of a northern pygmy owl (at top) and French photographer Audrey Bellot’s shot “Purple Waves” (above).


2. A Talk with Mona Kuhn

Mona Kuhn’s photography practice centers around explorations of the figure, juxtaposed and layered with abstract takes on the built and natural environments, noted LA Weekly, which recently interviewed Kuhn in conjunction with the opening of new exhibition surveying decades of her career at Galerie XII in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. “[T]he first time I started dreaming about becoming an artist was the moment I felt a certain levitation while staring at a work of art, which felt as if I had an out-of-body experience,” said Kuhn.


3. Black-and-White Minimalist Photography Prize Winners

Bnw Minimalism Magazine has announced the winners of its inaugural Black and White Minimalist Photography Prize, spotlighted at My Modern Met. The publication received over 1,400 entries, and a panel of three judges—professional photographer and architect Olivier Robert, photographer Noell Oszvald, and Milad Safabakhsh, the Chief Editor of Bnw Minimalism Magazine—selected three prize winners, along with another 50 honorable mentions. First place goes to Tim Nevell for his minimalistly-titled image “Alone.”


4. Capturing Three Decades Of Female Friendship

In 1985, photographer Karen Marshall met Molly Brover — an exuberant high school junior —and soon began documenting her life and the lives of her friends in New York City. The work, took on a new significance when Brover was killed in car accident ten months after their first meeting. But Marshall vowed to keep on with the project and spent the next 30 years photographing the the group of young women. Now, we noted, the images have been collected in the book Between Girls (Kehrer Verlag)


5. The Drag Queen Photographers Dazzling the Web

Drag queens are dazzling the internet, and three queer photographers — Marko Monroe, Adam Ouahmane (photo above) and Liam James Doyle — are behind the lens of some of the most popular drag looks shared on social media today, noted NPR, which featured the photographers’ images of  Symone, Denali and Utica, three queens competing on the current season of VH1's reality show RuPaul's Drag Race. “A lot goes into it obviously, but that's my favorite part of all of this," says Ouahmane, who describes the retouching process "very therapeutic.”

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