Helmut Newton’s pictures of the female body show her to be an animal. Not an animal of the Playboy Bunny ilk to aggrandize masculine egos, although his oeuvre includes models wearing rabbit ears. No. His female animal is a palpitating splendid creature like her male counterpart. Communicating such life in the two dimensions of photography is quite an art.
In the current exhibition of works by the portraitist and fashion photographer for Vanity Fair, an assortment of pubic hair is made public. Most of the pubic hair is untrimmed, or trimmed only a bit. It is good to see real pubic hair instead of tweezered, plucked, shaved, waxed nothingness.
Newton’s subjects often seem like animals caught in the glare of headlights during a private thought or action. The physicality of the models is extraordinary. Several of his models had breasts and showed them.
Well, of course. What is extraordinary about that? Generally speaking, women have breasts. To a certain extent, men also. Newton presents breasts belonging to young, healthy, beautiful white women, and still the breasts range in size and shape dramatically, like dogs, as different as Chihuahuas and Saint Bernards.
Add in breasts of women of different ages, weights, and colors, and the variety is astounding. The diversity includes nipples. Big, flat, dark, minuscule, beige, poofy, you name it, and it exists.
How is a girl supposed to know if her breasts are within the range of “normal” as she matures? Someone must tell her that no matter how she looks, she is perfectly formed. She has breasts that fit the standard gamut of women, an array so broad it is surprising we are a single species.