Tag Archives: glamour model

Committing heresy: I (mostly) hate Helmut Newton

21 Nov

Are you following my new instagram? 😉

I first came across Helmut Newton’s work when I was about eight. I was having a chocolate brownie with my mum and her friend in a Covent Garden cafe, and the smallish framed pictures on the walls featuring tall busty women in, if my memory is still working, wet t-shirt contests, all bore dates and the words “Helmut Newton”. The women looked so similar I assumed it was one model and that was her name. At age eight, I also thought that a wet t-shirt contest was about who could get their t-shirt the wettest…

Three thoughts I have about Helmut Newton.
1) He looks like Robert De Niro if you ironed him.
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2) His life is fascinating- I don’t hate the man, just most of his pictures…
3) … which are an eclectic mishmash of spectacular and bloody hideous.

Over a decade after that sighting, I was working as a professional model and finding that Mr Newton is the untouchable pinnacle of fetish and erotic creative achievement according to many people I worked with and spoke to online. Bob Carlos Clarke is another (I adore his work but suspect I wouldn’t have got on with him.) In the same way Joe Public thinks of Kate Moss first and foremost when discussing modelling, Helmut Newton’s name is synonymous with many genres that make up my workload. I can’t get away from the man! More specifically, the phrase “Helmut Newton style”.

These images are by Helmut Newton.

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If you would like to book me for a femme fatale, glamourous nude or lingerie shoot in a gorgeous hotel or any other location with perfect hair and make-up, in black and white then please, oh please do! I love the first three images below!
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Charlotte Rampling
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Daryl Hannah
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I don’t love these ones…

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And don’t get me started on these.

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When somebody says “Helmut Newton style”, I have no idea whether they are thinking about nude models in five star hotels with stunning hair, make-up and old fashioned decadence….. or unflattering angles on an unmade bed, legs splayed, fellating a gun. Helmut Newton has several styles and they do not look like the same photographer! I can only imagine the horror for a new model expecting the former, being booked for the latter and realising that yes, Dr Jekyll is also Mr Hyde.

I understand that his images were risque for the time, that they were influencers, but it was easier to be edgy in the 70s. When I first started modelling, I thought a gothic shoot in a graveyard with Crow make-up and photoshopped bats was an amazing idea. Fortunately, I moved on. Yes, Newton’s work is historically significant- I’m not suggesting that he be confined to history’s dustbin, just suggesting that a name should not turn a bad photo into a good one.
If this picture wasn’t a “Newton”, what stops it from being very thin woman with ‘spade’ hands and her legs hanging open?
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If this wasn’t a Newton, why isn’t it just a cheesy, overacted, rather unflattering shot?
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I think that one thing keeping his images from being thought of as trashy is his choice of models. Helmut mostly worked with extremely tall thin women with long limbs and fairly small breasts. Women with ‘fashion’ figures can often make almost anything look daring and edgy. There are poses that fashion models can pull off but make a curvier model look lurid and tacky. This is a prime example. The pose makes smaller breasts look bigger and most big (natural) breasts look like droopy udders.
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Charlotte Rampling, Daryl Hannah, Carla Bruni… his choice of model also happened to be particularly beautiful celebrities- of course his images will remain in the public eye as long as the subjects do! Would they still be considered timeless and iconic if he had exclusively picked pretty women from the local bar?
This isn’t just any woman looking bored, grabbing her tit- this is Catherine Deneuve looking bored, grabbing Catherine Deneuve’s tit.
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In my opinion, Helmut Newton had some truly beautiful photos and some equally dire ones in a mostly cool-ish portfolio which was helped by his choice of subject and use of stark black and white (somehow it makes many photos look more ‘arty’.)
As a fetish model, I can appreciate his daring to try weird stuff and as I usually do my own hair and makeup, I find the glamourous styling makes its way onto several of my personal moodboards. I love his hotel shots and sometimes his framing is just perfect. It’s why I’ll gladly consider a Helmut Newton style shoot with you… but first I’ll ask “what style?” ;P

Doing it better…

I’ve actually wanted to write this blog for quite some time… and then the pieces fell into place when a forum post on Purpleport started up…  So I frantically mailed a few photographers I greatly admire who, in my opinion, do “Helmut Newton style” better than Helmut Newton.

John Tisbury
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Model: Vic

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Models: Katy Cee and Iveta (both retired from modelling)

Max Operandi
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Assisting Don McCrae

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Model: Your humble blogger. That’s me.

Jeremy
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Model: Ella Rose

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Model: Rosa Brighid

As I just realised I only have one image of me in an entire blog, here’s one of my all-time favourites, by Gregory Brown.
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Now, I’m sure one of you is going to tell me that many of the images above were heavily influenced by Newton. I know. I am very aware of this, but the fact is that Helmut Newton was also inspired by other people and somebody (can’t think who!) said that you can copy whatever you want but what matters is being better than the original. 😉

It’s okay to disagree with me- come and have a chat about it if you want! I’m just glad I got that off my chest. ;P

ROSWELL x

P.S. Here I am demonstrating how to correctly work with a cat. Take note, Helmut Newton- wherever you are in time and space!

Incorrect cat-handling.
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Correct cat-handling.
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Photo by Elena Isac.

What do models wear?

17 Feb

Also:
– Why we look like bag ladies on the tube in the morning
– How we get designers to lend us stuff
– Why we often look nothing like the way you imagined us!

Well, as you seemed to like my ‘what models eat‘ blog so much, I decided to address another few questions I get asked a lot! 🙂

If you don’t care, scroll down for some insane outfits in incredible locations. 😉
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Glamour models often arrive fully made-up because as the preferred ‘look’ can be very samey, she knows what the client wants and can arrive ready to shoot immediately. Otherwise, most models are told to arrive as blank canvasses, whether we’re agency-represented or freelance. This means that the sleepy make-up free, scraped-back hair-ed, baggy-trousered suitcase-dragging creature you see at 6am on the tube may well be a model in disguise!
No matter whether we’re fashionable, alternative, pretty and girly or any other style you can think of, the professionals (especially nude and lingerie models) will arrive in baggy outfits because they don’t leave marks on the body, saving the photographer time in photoshop.

Before and after… SIX YEARS AGO!!! I was modelling for the gone but much-missed HMSlatex.
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You know when you walk straight past somebody because they aren’t in the place you associate them with? (e.g. walking straight past your karate instructor because they aren’t in whites with a black belt?) I’ve found tying my hair up is the perfect disguise! I’ve lost count of the people who have mailed me saying “I thought I saw you but wasn’t sure…” Another model friend swears by the “Felicity effect”- wearing glasses = incognito! 😛
This is Felicity Smoak in Arrow. The glasses are to show you she’s a geek because all geeks on TV must wear glasses. 😛 She takes them off and- boom- different person. Apparently.
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This is why we look different to the way you imagine us:
It’s funny how often I find that photographers know models from one particular style we shoot, with no idea about the others! (It seems the art-nude and fetish worlds rarely cross paths.) As my art-nude pictures are often ethereal, classically beautiful and pre-Raphaelite inspired, some people can expect a long-skirted romantic to come skipping along.
*sound of New Rocks stomping down the train platform*
The same happens with many of my model friends known for certain looks they do very well- it’s a facet of their personality that they love to express and they’re not only versatile on camera but choose another facet to show off in their everyday world.

Instagram models are a different story as they mostly make a living from their sponsors and advertising. (I wrote a whole blog about the way that works here) That means they have to keep things as consistent with their projected image as possible. It seems like a very easy lifestyle, getting paid simply to take a selfie, but in my opinion there’s far more pressure on Instagram models than freelance models, as even their personal lives have to remain ‘on brand’. Often, what they wear is what they’re paid to wear- and that’s why they’re usually more recognisable in the street than other models.

I’m currently sponsored by Yummy Gummy latex, Orchid Corsetry and Louise Ferdinand Lingerie. Pictures below are Yummy Gummy and Louise Ferdinand- you’ll see Orchid Corsetry later in this post. (Yes I’ve lost weight- the bottom picture was a few years ago, the top was a few months ago).
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Photo by Proteus Photography
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I once read a rant from a very famous and now retired fetish model, who was sick of new models contacting her asking which photographers pay and which designers lend clothes for free.
“You know what they’re saying to me? I don’t want to work for anything so just give me money and clothes!”
It’s hard as a new model to know where to start and I can understand the temptation to ask more experienced models for all the information but professional models build up working relationships over a long period of time. If you’d like to work with a designer and work towards sponsorship, this will give you a good chance:

1) Prepare your portfolio
Have a lot of good quality pictures that would persuade a designer you are worth working with. If your first shoots are all basic fashion from your own wardrobe, that is no problem at all as long as you look good in them, but think about who you approach. For example, a lingerie designer is unlikely to offer you work if you have no lingerie pictures.
Treat it like a job application. No “hey bayb, wanna shoot?”

2) Stick your neck out
Apply to casting calls for fashion shows and photoshoots. You’re more likely to have the trust of a designer if you’ve actually met them in person! If they have no castings, offer to pay a deposit (and pay it!) This shows you’re serious about taking care of the items. Though I have built a good reputation, I still offer to pay deposits.

3) Be reliable
Give designers your correct measurements. I’ve seen a true fashion show horror story or two! If they need the outfit back by a certain day, make sure it gets sent back in time. If the outfit is damaged, let them know straight away. Accidents happen, but pretending they didn’t and sending back a broken outfit is not cool.I’ve had mishaps myself and the designers appreciated honesty.

It’s always worth an ask- the least somebody can do is say no, and you could have a new and lovely working relationship! 😀

It takes a hell of a lot of trust to allow your model to not only borrow your outfit but take it out of the country and into a lot of grimy overgrown places covered in dust, so thankyou so much to Orchid Corsetry, Dead Lotus Couture and Cyberesque for letting me do just that last year.
I worked with photographers Magpie Tommy, James Kerwin and fellow model Jade Stacy Maria in Belgium on an urbex tour. You’ve already seen the nudes, so here are the rest of our shots! Photos are watermarked with the credits.

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I love the way different photographers can produce totally different images in the same location. Tom’s is above, James’s are below. Jade and I are wearing Dead Lotus Couture.
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We didn’t think we were going to manage this incredible castle location but after a couple of adventures and an uphill scramble, here we were! I’m wearing Orchid Corsetry with a veil made by me. I haven’t forgotten to tell you the thrilling tale but for now, here are some pictures… 😉
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We were running out of light and I really wish we’d had more time at the location below as there were so many more things I wanted to do! Another time perhaps… 😉 Outfit by Cyberesque.
Apparently this bit is called “the rhino” but I think the structures look more like catfish…
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And my favourite shooting location of all! I loved the different places for very different reasons but as you all know my love of nature, this was an amazing place to be and to shoot. While Tom and James were shooting Jade, I sat taking close-ups of my own and pretending I was in another strange world. 🙂
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I’m on a few new adventures this year and can’t wait to see where life takes me next. As for today, it’s been a productive one!
– I painted my doors
– Made a lovely smoked mackerel and beetroot salad
– Blogged (yay!)
– Recorded a short story I’m working on
– Am trying my hand at making chia seed pudding for the first time. Wish me luck! 😛

More adventures coming your way…

ROSWELL xxx