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Remembering June Newton, photographer and Actress

Updated: May 17, 2021

Monaco and the Helmut Newton Foundation remember Australian portrait photographer, actress and model, June Newton, who passed away in Monaco at 97.

Photographer June Newton in Melbourne, 1997 © Alice Springs, Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation

On 9 April 2021, Monte-Carlo lost a creative, generous and highly talented resident. Married to German-Jewish photographer Helmut Newton, June Newton became a revered portrait photographer in Paris and Hollywood, photographing Yves Saint-Laurent, Nicole Kidman and Madonna, among countless other famous faces, throughout her career.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1923, June first trained and worked as an actress. In 1947, she met her husband Helmut and in 1956, after June was awarded Australia’s Erik Kuttner Award for best theatre actress, the newlyweds moved to London. In 1961, they moved to Paris where Helmut continued working for Vogue in France.

Alice Springs, Fashion for Dépeche Mode, Paris 1971 © Alice Springs, Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation
Alice Springs, Yves Saint Laurent and Hazel, Paris 1978. © Alice Springs, Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation

In the 1970s June began her photography career under the alias Alice Springs. Her portraits, characterised by their simple composition and use of natural light, featured on the cover of Elle in 1974 and illuminated the editorials of fashion magazines Vogue, Marie Claire and Nova. Over the next 40 years, Alice Springs would capture the beauty, charisma and character of innumerable global celebrities and cultural icons on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1981, the Newtons moved to Monte-Carlo, where they remained for the rest of their lives. The couple filmed the documentary Helmut by June for the French television channel Canal+ in 1995, which they followed up with their photo book Us and Them, a collection of intimate self-portraits, mutual portraits and celebrity portraits arranged in diptychs juxtaposing the work of the two artist spouses.

The Newtons, 1991 © Alice Springs, Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation

June published her autobiography, Mrs. Newton, in 2004. After her husband’s death in the same year, she became President of the Helmut Newton Foundation and ensured that her husband’s dream of converting a former Prussian military casino in Berlin into a photography museum became a reality. As the driving force behind the exhibition concept, June established the Helmut Newton Foundation Museum in cooperation with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Summer 2004, and it is now a unique institution worldwide.

The Helmut Newton Foundation said of June’s death: ‘We mourn the loss of an outstanding person and an internationally recognised photographer. We will deeply miss her.’ The portraits and contribution to the photography and fashion industries of the late Monte-Carlo-based artist will carry her legacy for years to come.

- Georgina Findlay

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