Travel Realizations

Celebrating Experiences

Nudity – Is it Shocking or just Real?

Coming from a completely different culture where we hardly talk openly about “nudity”, the exhibition of Helmut Newton’s photographs at Fotografiska, one of the largest photography museums in the world in Stockholm, Sweden was scintillating for me. I got an opportunity to be there a few days back.

Fotografiska – a center for contemporary photography in Stockholm

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

Fotografiska in Stockholm, Sweden.

I saw an interesting sculpture called Torso at the entrance by Swedish artist Dan Wolgers.

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

It represents the artist’s self-portrait and a woman’s womb.

Nudity – Is it Shocking or just Real?

The exhibition  greeted us with a quote by Helmut Newton,

Nothing is more revealing than Nudity, even when it’s dressed.

Well the quote did its magic on me and I hurried to the exhibition hall to explore the meaning through all his photographs.

Nothing is more revealing than Nudity, even when it's dressed. Click To Tweet

A beautiful photograph

But before exploring some of Helmut Newton’s work here, I would like to mention about one of the photographs which remains my personal favorite. It was clicked by another photographer and was for sale. I can’t stop admiring the lady in it!

I am really in a dilemma who is more mesmeric, the photograph or the lady in it?

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

A beautiful photograph in Fotografiska

 Photographs by Helmut Newton

I believe that the human body is one of the most astonishing creations in the universe. It is adorable, lovable, magical and mysterious. But never did I think of “nudity” separately.

I believe that the human body is one of the most astonishing creations in the universe. It is adorable, lovable, magical and mysterious. Click To Tweet
Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

A photograph by Helmut Newton.

The photographs depict the exact reality

While witnessing Helmut’s work, I realized there is a subtle difference between a photograph and a painting or a sculpture. A painting or a sculpture gives us an extra place for imagination, but photographs depict the exact reality.

A painting or a sculpture gives us an extra place for imagination, but photographs depict the exact reality Click To Tweet

I like this capture. It is revealing yet mysterious, bold, sensuous, seductive and expressive. I can go on adding adjectives to it. What I appreciate about this photograph is its simple approach.
This erotically charged black and white photo is a viewer’s delight.

Helmut Newton rightly said

My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and  entertain.

Do we have any scope for imagination here?

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

A photograph by Helmut Newton.

This picture is different, but do we have any scope for imagination here?

I would like to emphasize another quote by Helmut Newton here, which was displayed in the exhibition hall.

I do love reactions. I seek them out. Don’t like kindness and niceness. The fact that a shock doesn’t come from a desire to provoke, but , when I am trying to attain a new photographic effect, new visual tensions, some subjects just impose themselves on me. The only provocation I loathe is that of surrealist image. In my universe, it can have no place.

Clothing is symbolic

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

A photograph by Helmut Newton.

What I could decipher from this picture is, that clothing is symbolic. Perhaps it’s a symbol of power, sophistication and can portray either an illusion or reality.

Why most of the pictures were meant for a male gaze?

 

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

A photograph by Helmut Newton.

The only thing I was wondering (at the risk of sounding feminist) – why most of the pictures were meant for a male gaze?

The only thing I was wondering (at the risk of sounding feminist) - why most of the pictures were meant for a male gaze? Click To Tweet

Books by Helmut Newton

Possibly I would end up reading his three books, namely, White women, Big Nudes and Sleepless Nights.

Nudity - Is it Shocking or just Real, Travel Realizations, Fotografiska, Helmut Newton's photographs

Helmut Newton photography.

One can instantly recognize the Helmut Newton’s photos. They are simple yet detailed.

Abundance of eroticism, sensuality, provocation and ideas signifies Helmut Newton’s work to me.

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I realized a simple thing after seeing these sensuous photographs. Any inhibitions can never make us free. I am not that shy person anymore who hesitates to talk and discuss about a sensuous topic. It is a lovely change and realization within, which art loving Europe has gifted me!

I realized a simple thing after seeing these sensuous photographs. Any inhibitions can never make us free. Click To Tweet

Cafeteria of Fotografiska.

The top floor cafeteria of the Fotografiska

I would also like to mention about the top floor cafeteria of the Fotografiska museum. It is truly an exotic place with a wonderful view of Stockholm outside. The visit to Fotografiska will remain in my memories forever. Do plan to visit it if you are in Stockholm!

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10 Comments

  1. D.H.Lawrence believed that uninhibition leads a man towards the attainment of perfection and contributes towards mental health.it is an initiation into divine mysteries,the mystery of the other world that is close behind us.

  2. "Any inhibition can never make us free" supports D.H. Lawrence's novels & writings.

  3. Thank you for drawing attention to Helmut Newton and his work you witnessed and published your views. Every art form has its commitment to its media and naturally paintings, sculpture and photography has its own field of expression. There is long history about the development of nude – from Greece to Greco Roman – the Medieval period, Italy from 13th century , 19th century Europe – Paris , Spain and many more..
    It took centuries to develop a Hellenistic form and you will surprise to know it took many centuries to establish the position of the legs ( one in the little front portion) and to hide the abdomen. There are many renowned artists who drew nude like Rubens, Titan and mainly Boucher who has a suitable criticism by the art historian and art critics about indulging sensuality. I would suggest you to read Kenneth Clarke’s – The NUDE . It has elaborately discussed the subject. It is not just depriving of clothes as we name it for the very word NAKED.
    I would also suggest you to see Gustav Klimt ‘s paintings to have a taste of sensuality – he (Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter) .

    I do not have much knowledge about Helmut Newton but I know that he was a fashion photographer and worked for Vogue .magazine. His quotations as highlighted are nice and I need to think about those. One can impose sensuality in photography but it is a question whether it breaks the art form or not. Here we can assume that sensuality is the subject of his medium that he is working for. I should not comment much before I see his work and know about them much more.

    • Welcome to my blog Mr.Mukherjee.
      Thank you so much for enlightening me with those interesting facts.
      I remember the paintings of Rodin in Paris. He has also dealt with the subject "Nudity" with sensitivity and originality!

  4. human badi sundor tabuo amon kore!ki jani.sab soundorja khule dakhale….!ekhanei ki ami chirantan bangali?

  5. I think if it's done tastefully it's very artistic and beautiful.

  6. I think the human body is very beautiful, and we should stop being so uptight about it.

    I would love to visit that museum and Stockholm!

    • Hi Martha,
      Thank you so much for sharing your views.
      I absolutely agree with you. I tried to explain the journey from a culture where such things are absolute "no-no" even for discussions to a culture which liberates oneself on this issue.

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