Helmut Newton was famous for empowering women and letting them take control of their own image; now, from today, everyone will have the chance to be a subject of his photography methods. Topshop, working directly with the Helmut Newton estate, have recreated the Newton Machine, a specially made studio that Newton came up with in the 1970s, designed to allow subjects to take their own photograph without the help of a photographer. Unlike a photobooth, there is some degree of control of how subjects see themselves in this machine. "The whole system is devised to heighten the tension of the modeling session and to catch the model at the peak of each post," said Newton.
At Topshop Oxford Circus, they have done their best to recreate the machine in a bespoke photographic studio. The studio will allow customers to simply go inside, stand within a marked area, pose in front of the mirror, and then press a button on the cable release to take a photo. Customers get to keep a printout of the image. On the opening day today, Phillip Serieys, the first assistant of Helmut Newton in Paris, was on hand to give guidance on how to use the machine. "A slight movement, a smile, a quick look, the shape of your body," he said. "You will soon find what makes you different and unique. This way, you can start taking pictures." We were allowed to play around with the machine for an hour, so
click here for the results of a few people grappling with the concept of posing for themselves and not for someone else.
The Newton Machine is in Topshop London Oxford Circus June 10th - 15th, Topshop Manchester Arndale June 17th - 22nd, and Topshop Dublin St Stephens Green June 17th - 22nd.