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The son of a German-Jewish button-factory owner and an American mother, Newton attended the Heinrich-von-Treitschke-Realgymnasium and the American School in Berlin. Interested in photography from a young age, he worked for the German photographer Yva (Else Neulander Simon). Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938 to escape persecution as a Jew, Newton worked briefly in Singapore as a photographer for the Straits Times before settling in Melbourne, Australia.
Once he arrived in Australia he was first interned, along with many other "enemy aliens", before serving with the Australian Army during World War II. In 1948 Newton married photographer and actress June Browne, who later changed her name to Alice Springs. Newton set up a studio in Flinders Lane and worked primarily on fashion photography in the affluent post-war years. He assumed Australian nationality, but by 1961 he had left Australia for Europe.
Newton settled in Paris in 1961 and began extensive work as a fashion photographer. His works appeared in magazines including, most significantly, French Vogue. He established a particular style marked by erotic, stylised scenes, often with sado-masochistic and fetishistic subtexts. A heart attack in 1970 slowed his output somewhat but he extended his work and his notoriety/fame greatly increased, notably with his 1980 "Big Nudes" series which marked the pinnacle of his erotic-urban style, underpinned with excellent technical skills. He also worked in portraiture and more fantastical studies.
Newton was extremely fond of his hometown of Berlin, and in October 2003 he donated an extensive photo collection to the Preußischer Kulturbesitz foundation (Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage). It is currently on display at the Museum of Photography near the Berlin-Zoo railway station.
In his later life, Newton lived in Monte Carlo and Los Angeles. He was killed when his car hit a wall in the driveway of the famous Chateau Marmont, the hotel on Sunset Boulevard which had for several years served as his residence in Southern California. It has been speculated that Newton suffered a heart attack in the moments before the collision. His ashes are buried in the Städtischen Friedhof III, Berlin-Schöneberg, Stubenrauchstraße 43-45. Schöneberg in Berlin, Germany.
- Exhibitions with Helmut Newton on Artfacts – Helmut Newton's works are still widely at present in various shows and permanent collections in museums or galleries throughout the world
- Helmut Newton @ pHinnWeb
-  Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin
- Books and Exhibition of Helmut Newton
- Pictures made by Helmut Newton
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