June Newton

Alice Springs and Helmut Newton, Chateau Marmont, Hollywood 1991



Interview by Mart Engelen
Photography by Alice Springs

Mart Engelen: When did you start taking photographs?
June Newton: It was in Paris in 1970; I would never have taken to photography had I not been married to a photographer.
ME: How did your approach to taking photographs differ from Helmut’s?
JN: Our approach to taking photographs was as different as we are. He took his; I took mine.
ME: I notice an incredible purity in your pictures. How did you manage to achieve this?
JN: I am very flattered by your remark. I would call it spontaneity—something that happens between me and the subject. I can’t take the pic- ture until the sitter is comfortable.
ME: Is there a photo-shoot you’ll never forget?
JN: I once had someone walk in late, take one look and walk out, but I can’t remember who it was.
ME: The digital revolution means that we are experiencing a real overconsumption of images. What do you think of this development?
JN: It’s not my future but it is the future—just like the horse and cart had to give way to the motorcar. The new technology is for the new generation.
ME: When can we regard photography as art?
JN: Like Helmut, I believe photography is photography and art is art.
ME: Does art have to be provocative?
JN: It doesn’t have to be.
ME: Do you collect art?
JN: No, but I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years.
ME: Is there a difference between Alice Springs and June Newton?
JN: I’m June, and Alice takes the pictures.
ME: Do you still take pictures today?
JN: These days I concentrate on projects and problems and the Foundation in Berlin.
ME: Apart from your husband, have other artists inspired you?
JN: I honestly can’t think of any artist or photographer I was inspired by, but maybe that was because I started so late.
ME: One day when it’s all over, how would you like to be remembered?
JN: Who? June or Alice. I’m kidding—both will simply be forgotten.
ME: Is there still one picture you have to take?
JN: Yes, a self-portrait on my deathbed.