Helmut on at the Annenberg

There are several amusing portraits of the photographer outside the gallery

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.–People ask me all the time, they say Bill, do you get to see plenty of naked women when you go down to the summer press tour in Los Angeles?
This summer, I’m directing them to the Annenberg Space for Photography. This small but dynamic gallery is within walking distance of the TCA summer hotel, the Beverly Hilton. A tour guide Saturday pointed out that the inside of the chrome and glass gallery was shaped like a camera, with a round lens shape in the middle with an aperture-like motif on the ceiling. Visitors generally make their way around the interior outside walls like film through a camera.
From now until Sept. 8 the Annenberg is showcasing disco-era fashion photographer Helmut Newton with works from three of his large format photo book collections from the ’70s and ’80s: White Women, Sleepless Nights and Big Nudes. Featured are several supermodels of the day. There is also a short documentary in the inner gallery, with commentary from Newton model/actress Daryl Hannah and film producer Robert Evans.
Newton photographed his models mainly in natural light and often in the harsh noon day sun. He didn’t go for a lot of gimmicky fill lighting, preferring to basically stand with the sun over his right shoulder and fire away.
There’s a lot of hokum in the gallery about how his photographs empowered women, allowing them to stare back at men (Madonna was a fan and a subject), but really the main attraction is the chance to check out some fabulous babes with legs that go on longer than a TCA business meeting.
Admission to the Annenberg is free and they’ll even validate parking.

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