(Germany, Australia, France 1920–2004)
36.3 x 24.0cm image; 40.5 x 30.3cm sheet
‘Upstairs at Maxim’s’ indulges in another of Newton’s obsessions – the mannequin, which he first used in 1968. They allowed him to stage daring tableaux for French ‘Vogue’, in which, as he said: ‘Using live models would have been too risky.’1 While ‘Upstairs at Maxim’s’ appears at first glance to be a simple shot showing off women’s clothes, the opulent interior with the vacant mirror and the equally vacant mannequin take on a pathos and eroticism due to the simple action of the man kissing the inanimate hand – which has been detached.
Klaus Honnef has commented that ‘the totally artificial atmosphere of traditional fashion photography is missing in Newton’s work, and we can begin to sense a latent imaginative realm of fantasies, dreams and nightmares’.2 Hence Newton’s ability to shock his audience as he made quite explicit the relationship between body, clothes, environment and voyeurism.
1. Newton H 2003, ‘Autobiography’, Gerald Duckworth & Co, London p 145
2. Honnef K 1988, ‘Contemporary photographers’, 2nd ed, ed C Naylor, St James Press, Chicago/London p 758
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
7079 (Editor), Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 2007, 185 (illus.).
'Discipline & Beauty Women, Fashion and Photography', by Judy Annear, pg. 14-16., Look Jul 1997, Jul 1997, 16 (illus.).
Discipline and Beauty, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 28 Jun 1997–17 Aug 1997.