Informing his Vision: Helmut's Inspiration and Influences

March 30, 2023

This special online event, held on Wednesday 20 July 2022 by the Jewish Museum of Australia, delved into Helmut Newton’s entry into photography and the formative years of his career, giving insights into the man and the world he evoked through his photography.

Helmut is regarded as one of the most influential photographers of all time, so who and what led to the career and works that have inspired so many?

The powerhouse panel features moderator Cathy Pryor, co-curator of HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus, Susan van Wyk, Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria, Helen Ennis, one of Australia’s leading photography curators, and Lisa Newland, relative of photographic pioneer Yva.

Watch the compelling conversation below.

Speaker biographies:

Susan van Wyk

Susan van Wyk is the Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria. Since joining the NGV, she has worked on more than sixty exhibitions of Australian and international photography. Recent exhibitions include Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou, Colony: Australia 1770-1861, Bill Henson, Alex Prager, Thomas Demand, and William Eggleston. Over a thirty-year career Susan has written numerous catalogues and contributed to journals on photography.

Helen Ennis

Helen specializes in Australian photographic history, especially of the modern period, and biography. Since 2000 she has curated eight major exhibitions for the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia and other cultural institutions. Her biography of modernist photographer Olive Cotton was awarded the Magarey Medal for Biography and the Queensland Literary Awards Non-fiction prize in 2020. She is currently researching the life and work of Max Dupain.

Lisa Newland

Lisa Newland (whose family name changed from Neuländer after fleeing Nazi Germany), is a relative of the Berlin 1920-30’s photographer Yva (Else Neuländer-Simon). 30 years ago, her late grandfather ignited her interest in Yva’s life and work, and ever since, she has been on a journey of research and discovery, hoping to bring Yva’s life and legacy to the world. She is currently collaborating with a script writer at the Israeli film and production company Metaphor that is creating a documentary about Yva.

Lisa is a Pathologist and has always had an interest in the visual arts and design, having qualified in Medicine and also studied at Architecture School, as well as exhibited her own photographic artwork. She is married to a photographer who has enthusiastically encouraged and assisted her Yva projects.

Image: Helmut Newton and wife at Castlecrag (23 The Scarp), January 1955 / photographed by Max Dupain, courtesy of Mitchell Library, ON 609/Box 04/nos. 391-414, FL19408728.