I want to start of with Skateboarding. Most skateboarders that do photography that I know are heavily influenced by skate photographers. Would you say that the same was true with you when you started shooting photos, or were other types of photographers more influential to you?
Well the first skate photo I'd ever seen was an Atiba photo (Atiba Jefferson) so that's the obvious answer. But I've been influenced by numerous photographers around Jax, such as Logan Rigby andEric Staniford. But as far as them making me want to start taking photos I would say not so much. I honestly started taking photos cause me and the homies never had anyone to take photos/videos, so that's how all of this came to play, but once I picked up my camera and took that first photo I fell in love.
Your nighttime photography is great. I saw that they used some of your photos on the display at Everbank field, how did it feel to have your photos shown in such a dramatic way?
Aw, man-seeing my photos up on that mega screen was such a blessing. It was an indescribable feeling. I won an @Igersjax contest on Instagram. That's how that came into play! I won regular tickets to the game plus the cabana tickets which where reallllllllly nice on top of 2 of my pictures making up on the screen at halftime. So, shouts out to Stephen Stears for that.
Tell me about some of your favorite photographers and why they are your favorites.
Well as far as skating wise, my favorite photographer would be Chris Jolly. Hes also one of the guys in Jax that I grew up admiring. Whether it was skating, videos or skating pics he kills it all around. As far as landscape and everything that goes with that, my favorite photographer would have to be my buddy Lee Holt with Holt Media Productions. I met Lee a while back when I was still a buster to the photo world and he showed me basically everything I know about my camera. I'm thankful these dudes always looking out and helping me in any way they can.
Let's talk about Skateboarding. So you come from a small town outside of Jacksonville. Are you still living out there? What was skateboarding like out there?
I'm from a little town outside the city called Baldwin. Yes, I still live out here in the boonies, its quiet and peaceful but so far from anything. I'm 20 miles from downtown and 40 from the beach. So I have a love/hate relationship for it.
Does the skatepark out there still exist?
When I was in school they built a small prefab park (Baldwin Rails and Trails) that had a lot of the skaters at school pretty hyped. It did pretty good for about 2 years, then everybody kinda fell off. The park is still there but only a few of us locals still hit it up. Sad, but at least its never packed out.
If you could go anywhere to shoot photos and to skate, what would be your first 3 choices of places to visit?
Hmmm-that's a hard one. Well I would definitely love to go to Africa to shoot all the wildlife-lions zebras and such. Skating-wise, I'd love to go to Japan simply because every video I've ever seen from there, skating-wise and landscape-wise, I've seen some of the dopest spots ever. Then the last spot I'd want to go to for both skating and photos would be Italy. The cityscapes there are so mind blowing to me, not to mention the food and culture. I've seen some pretty dope videos of spots there that look amazing.
Okay, say you had an unlimited camera gear budget. What would you put in your camera bag?
Oh man its like that? First off I'm a Canon man so I'd definitely have a Canon 5D Mark III body. The Canon 8-15mm Fisheye/wide angle. I'd have the canon 70-200mm for Portraits and the 24-105 for landscape/cityscapes. Plus a number of Canon high-speed sync flashes. I could go on and on for days about more stuff, but those would be the main ones I would use!
Do you have any projects or big plans in the works? Any clues for the readers on what to expect from you in the near future?
I don't really have any projects in the works. I'm going down to Miami next weekend so hopefully I'll be able to get a bunch of dope photos, landscape and skating-wise! You can look forward to me just staying consistent with photography and keep flooding your feeds with sick photos. Photography is what I think I'm meant to do, so God willing I'll be doing it for a long time.
Can't thank you enough for your time and patience here. Lastly - You've already mentioned people that have helped you out in getting to where you are now with photography. Any more shout-outs, hellos, or last comments or Oscar style speeches?
Yeah man, like I said before: I owe the world to my buddies Grosser and Lee. They basically showed me how my camera worked. I forgot a person who I grew up looking up to, Trevor Stevens. That guy always had the sickest photos out of Jax in my opinion. He's the homie and such a sick dude all around. Definitely gotta give you a big shout out for doing this whole interview Norm, thanks for always getting hyped on my stuff. Crazy how time flies. I remember meeting you at a Kona contest years ago and being hyped on your stuff. You had Jax on your back, back in the day with busstopmag.com. Glad we got to do this brotha! Thanks to anyone who helps and supports me. One love!
I wish I could remember the first time I met Jake Sykes. It seems like I’ve known him forever. To me, he’s memorable as one of the nicest dudes ever to work behind the counter at Kona Skatepark, and it’s hard for me to picture him not smiling. Not only is Jake adept at being personable and rad in regular life, he also kills it at skateboarding. I’m thankful I got to talk to Jake about his recent move to California, and double thankful Eric Staniford came through with these rad photos. So I see you aren’t in Jacksonville right now. Where are you and how did you get there?
I had planned on moving out west for a while. I left Jacksonville on May 31st and made it to LA. I’m currently living in North Hollywood, CA.
Tell me about the trip out there. Was it the longest thing ever?
It was pretty chill. The flights were smooth and didn't have much of a layover, so it went well overall.
How has it been adjusting since you've moved?
It was hard to get used to the time change at first. But it’s been pretty easy adjusting. The weather here is amazing. Can’t really complain.
Have you seen tons of familiar spots since you've gotten there? Is it tough finding new spots that haven’t been seen before now that you've moved?
I’ve seen so many famous spots! It’s crazy, going from just watching these spots on videos to actually being able to skate them. It’s not too tough finding new spots, there’s plenty of things to skate all over the place. What’s your favorite thing about California so far.
My favorite thing is definitely the weather, that Florida humidity is one thing I won’t miss!
Do you have lots of free time to go skate, being that you are in a new city? Do you pretty much Just have skate homies there now, or do you know other people there, too?
I do have a lot of free time to skate for sure. I’ve definitely made some skate buddies since I got here.
The OG homie Eric Staniford and his chick looked out real hard by letting me crash on their couch for the first 2 months. Thanks guys! But the fellow Jacksonvillian Craig Clements just drove out here and we got an apartment in North Hollywood!
Tell me about what your skate days are like now that you are in California.
There hasn’t really been like a routine everyday haha it’s all kind of random occurrences. I used to take the train to NoHo Plaza from Eric’s all the time, but now I live pretty close to it and only a few miles from another epic park called Sheldon. It’s nuts how many pros and amazing skaters you see here, being in the mix is a pretty crazy feeling.
Have you found it to be true that everything is more expensive in California?
It’s most definitely more expensive! Their tax is like 9% and the gas is above $4.00 almost everywhere. Luckily, I’ve had money saved from working back in Jax. I’ve been applying to jobs and going to interviews here and there. I’d be content with working a lot while still skating so I can be able to maintain out here.
Is it weird skating spots and knowing you might randomly run into some famous pro skateboarder at any time? Has that happened much, and if so is it intimidating?
I’ve already had some pretty crazy encounters with pros, it’s kind of unreal. I’ve seen so many big names and they’ve all been pretty cool to me, but here was one encounter I’ll never forget. One Sunday morning, the good homie Nick Blanco and I got to skate with P.J. Ladd at the famous JKWON spot in LA. It was way early in the morning, we had not even 2 hours of sleep and woke up at 7am to go skate the spot. About 20 minutes into the sesh, P.J.rolls up by himself, it was pretty intimidating at first. He comes up to us, we say what’s up and start shredding with him. We skated with him for a good hour or so. Just us, but two other little kids showed up with their filmer dad towards the end of the session. P.J. was a really chill dude and he literally did some of the smoothest tricks I’ve seen go down, all within only a few tries. Most of them were first try. Nick and I were hyped to have experienced that for sure!
I’m thinking that skating wise, things are way better in California. But with people, things are a little different. Who are the people you wish you could see the most from back home?
Yeah this place is a lot different people wise, for sure. For instance, being on the roads is a lot crazier than back home. People speed and run red lights all the time. However, I have met some really laid back people out here that I can get along with, so I can’t complain. But I definitely wish I could see my family and my lady of course, as well as all my friends and everyone I ever skated with, you are all included in this shoutout.
I miss each and everyone of you!
Thank you Norm, and thanks to anyone that takes the time to read this!
I can’t say exactly how long I’ve been following Robert Brink on the internet. It’s been a while now. Having said that, I’ve never come across something he’s written that isn’t worth reading. In addition to being a known writer in the world of skateboarding journalism, he’s also a regular co-host of the successful and entertaining Weekend Buzz on the Ride Channel.
I always seem to run into Rob at Tampa Pro, and last year after chatting him up a bit I decided hit him up for an interview. Couldn’t be more glad that I did. Almost a year later, here it is: The Robert Brink Interview.
Starting off – I think a lot of people know you from your social media profiles and from Weekend Buzz on the Ride Channel. Both things you do well, but it seems that writing is a big strongpoint for you. I read that you got your start with writing at Stance magazine, right? Can you tell me about that experience?
I think Stance may have been the first mag I ever wrote for. It was either them or TransWorld. But what was rad about Stance, despite being kinda hated on back then, was that it was a pop culture mag influenced by the culture of skateboarding. Much like mags and sites like Monster Children, Hype Beast, and so on today. Tim O’Connor introduced me to Ted Newsome who was the editor at the time and Ted gave me a warm welcome and a chance. It was awesome because right off the bat I was interviewing celebs and playmates and rock stars. I’ve been a die-hard skateboarder since 1989, but I have also never been a fan of not progressing and expanding… very few people can back themselves into a corner and have a long and dynamic career. I also worked alongside Mike Ballard and Kevin Imamura; both have done amazing stuff in skate and beyond. I was just emailing with Bobby Hundreds and discovered he was an intern there while I was writing for them.
I started out pitching stories and doing book, DVD and music reviews and one day Ted flew me to Cali to work in the offices for a month because they needed help. I didn’t expect that to happen so fast. At that same time my dad was dying from cancer, so my mind was all over the place. But I was at the TWS offices working every day. It was at the peak of Jackass fame … so I was chilling with Jackass dudes, hanging out in LA … the whole deal. Prior to this I’d only been to SF a few times for skate missions with my NJ homies. But god, it was so fun. The whole era—not just the time in the offices. I learned so much and built a sick portfolio in a short time. I interviewed Opie & Anthony, Todd McFarlane, Elijah Blue Allman, Beetlejuice (of Howard Stern fame), supermodel Kylie Bax and so on.
The mag soon went under but by that time I was doing stuff regularly for TWS, TWS Business, Strength, ESPN magazine, Skateboarder and a few others, all while running a skate shop in NJ. Stance was the perfect experience/segway into Missbehave … a mag out of Mass Appeal aimed at girls. I ended up interviewing Sky Ferreira, Kat Von D, Jena Malone, Regina Spektor, Amber Heard, Stevie Ryan and Lizzy Kaplan.
Erica Yary, John Rattray, Chris Haslam aand Robert Brink - Weekend Buzz (via EricaYary.com)
I read a great quote you gave to Jenkem in a short section about how to get a job in the skateboard industry: “…work hard and you can have nearly anything you want. It’s worth everything you put into it.” It’s amazingly true in just about every aspect of life, but in this instance you were talking about the skateboarding industry specifically. This brings me to the question – was there ever a point where you really didn’t know if you wanted to continue with this whole skateboarding thing, or have you always been this dedicated?
Both. I am a workaholic to a fault. I’m the dude that thinks nothing is ever good enough. I’m a gnarly critic … of everything around me but more importantly of myself. I’m not saying this is always the best quality to have or that my word is gospel, but I’m always sizing things up, figuring out how they can be improved or looking for voids that can be filled. To me, that’s where the opportunity to make an impact is.
I’ve burnt out plenty. I’ve thought of walking away so many times. There have been blowouts and fights and shitty meetings in HR offices and failed relationships with women and lost friends and so on. I’ve actually been in therapy for a few months now and it’s interesting how my views towards work and the rewards I get from it and why developed at such a young age, based on factors from my childhood… and affect everything I do every day.
That said, work and skateboarding are my thing. I love what I do and I’m very fortunate. I’m living my dream and have the opportunity to make more dreams a reality. But it’s easy to get wrapped up and emotional because we are all so connected to, and in love with, skateboarding. And when you work with what you love the lines get blurred. You end up working 24/7 because you don’t realize you’re working.
One of my favorite quotes is from Heath Kirchart, in reference to his retirement, He said, “I’m sick of hating skateboarding.” It really resonates with me. For me, when you finally get behind the scenes and move all the way to Cali and get your dream job and all that, you are excited and hungry and full of hopes and ideas. You’re ready to conquer the world and help make skating better. But some of the shit you see and hear once you get in the mix will fucking break your heart because, again, skateboarding is what you love.
That’s why MJ’s Jenkem interview is so crucial to read and understand. Sure it sucks when someone like Nike kicks off Peter Hewitt or whatever … and it’s easy to default the old “Its cuz they are corporate and they suck!” reaction. But what also sucks is when certain skate brands selling and marketing how “core” and “skater owned” they are, are fucking over their own kind. Maybe it’s to be expected from a corporate giant … but when your own friends and peers stab you in the back … that’s the most fucked and painful thing ever. It’s happened to myself and lots of my friends. It’s happened to tons of pros and ams. I’ve seen it a hundred times.
I’m not pro-corporation, anti-core, or vice versa. And I’m in no way saying that all skater-owned companies are shady. Business gets ugly sometimes, regardless of the industry you’re in. But I think kids need to know. Buy what you like. Buy what brands you relate to and connect with and work for you. Buy what you can afford. But don’t just fall for some bullshit “anti-corporation/we are skater owned” mantra certain brands are spewing so that you buy their products. If the middle-aged dudes running a company can’t do a fucking kickflip or look at you funny when you ask them if they liked Chris Colburn’s video part, then they just might not be fucking skaters, know what I mean? There are legit reasons certain brands, massive or small, succeed over others … whether it’s better product, a better story, sicker graphics, treating their riders and employees better, etc.
And that’s also why I don’t have the time or energy to be bummed when pros do weird shit. So many kids spend so much time on forums and comments hating on pros for “kooking” it or whatever … what I really think they should be seeing is what happens behind the scenes at the brands. If they did, seeing so and so “sell out” for an energy drink sponsor or doing a Dr. Pepper commercial won’t seem so bad. It’s amazing how many people who gripe and talk shit online are so uneducated as to what they are even talking about. There are so many more layers to why shit happens than what most skaters in the world see. If every skater in the world sat in some of the meetings and conversations I’ve been in or heard about, the companies they choose to support and don’t support would be very different. They might actually be quite shocked at some of the shit their favorite “core” brand does to make or save a buck.
In the end, I’d rather skaters not even worry about this shit and just skate and have fun. But if they are gonna be putting everything under a microscope every day online anyway … I’d prefer them directing those efforts towards shit that’s way lamer and darker than Jereme’s rapping or Dylan’s cuffed pants.
That said, clearly I’m still here. And I’m thankful and lucky and more appreciative every day. The good far outweighs the bad.
In skateboarding it seems like it’s especially easy to write off a brand/person/style and be done with it forever. I remember a few situations I’ve seen with people I know leaving teams, having fights, or catching vibes the wrong way, like you mentioned before. But on the opposite end of the spectrum; there are a those notable people that seem like they will be friends forever. Are there any people in the industry or in your life in general that have a homies-for-life status?
Of course-and that’s part of the beauty of skateboarding. Despite all I just said, for the most part, I’ve met and befriended amazing people who’ve helped me and given me amazing opportunities. There are people who will be friends for life, regardless of where I work, who rides for who, what arguments we get in or whatever. In the end, I hope more people are making lifelong friends and having the time of their life over being bummed out and hating one another. Erica is like my sister. Danny Garcia and Jim Thiebaud and Josh Friedberg are some of my best friends. Ronnie Creager was the first time I befriended an idol of mine and he’s been the raddest dude. Johnny Schillereff just hired me. Austyn just sent me a text to come see his band play. Sometimes Carnie or Nieratko or Patrick O’Dell and I send emails back and forth about writing and our shows and so on. All the people I’ve worked with at the skate mags or behind the scenes at Ride Channel or whatever are awesome. I just got home from the Chronicles 2 premiere and it’s the best feeling just being around hundreds of people who you know and love and respect. Just walking around, connected by skateboarding and talking and hugging your friends all night. It’s incredible. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone.
On the subject of writing – You seem to be pretty well read. Do you have any specific writers, journalists or authors that you really get into?
I’m not as well read as I should be. Sometimes I’m ashamed of it. It just boils down to lack of free time. And even if I had that free time I think I would use it to write more rather than read.
I like Hemingway and Steinbeck. I like Emerson and Thoreau and Twain. I tend to gravitate towards American writers who write simply. I like that I read and comprehended “The Old Man and the Sea” in seventh grade and can also read it now and enjoy it on a different level. I found the new Salinger documentary quite remarkable.
I ’m a fan of the first four Palahniuk novels and his non-fiction. I love Cintra Wilson’s “A Massive Swelling.” I take a ton of inspiration from the way songwriters write lyrics, from Beethoven’s music, the way Charles Schultz wrote Peanuts, the way Howard Stern does everything, the way Oliver Stone or Terence Malick make films, the way Dave Carnie and Chris Nieratko and Mike Burnett write and think about skateboarding … to me it’s not just about “writers” in the traditional sense … but creators in general that can be really inspiring.
Once I read something you said about how key the Slap message boards were to knowing what skateboarders were really into, and how print couldn’t really follow along that path. Can you tell me about some of your favorite discoveries you’ve found in those forums? Do you check the forums often?
I don’t remember saying that … or meaning that. But here’s how I feel: the key to knowing what skaters are really into is being a skateboarder. Hanging with skateboarders. Being out on the streets and in the parks and in the van and at contests and paying attention to everything to do with skateboarding.
Magazines are awesome. And I’m obsessed with them. I pick up any magazine anywhere I am and flip through it. Doesn’t matter what it’s about. But my issue with print in skateboarding is that it’s archaic in the sense that if Johnny Layton whips his dick out or Spanky gets set on fire by Neck Face and a magazine wants to write about it … it won’t hit the shelves for a few months. There’s a whole world of fun and interesting content to be created and covered that print mags can’t do, for various reasons. Some because of turnaround time, some because of who pays to advertise in their mags or page counts. Sometimes the reality is that they are so busy running a media business and keeping ad dollars rolling in that they can’t always invest and focus more on content, as a result, some of the smaller independent blogs like yours and Skate More Spots and Jenkem and other sites have seized that opportunity and it’s rad that pros are taking time out to talk to them.
As for Slap … I’ve discovered there are plenty of cool kids on there that I end up writing back and forth with or meeting when I’m out and about. I’ve discovered that many people actually have no qualms of speaking quite assertively despite having no idea what they are fucking talking about. I’ve discovered that in some cases, people, no matter what, are gonna come on and talk shit for no reason, like, just for the fun of it. Which is sometimes lame and sometimes hilarious.
I’ve discovered people are a lot different in person than when they are hiding behind a keyboard and I’ve discovered that the Slap forum is a very tiny percentage of the actual skateboarding community as a whole. Yes, it’s a segment of the skate population and not to be ignored … but I know dudes who run brands that sit on Slap way too many hours of the day … dudes who should be worrying about why their brand is losing shit tons of money and why they have to lay off their friends or give their team riders pay cuts, instead they’re on Slap patting themselves on the back and forwarding threads to the executives when some kid posts something nice about their new product.
It’s nice to be able to go on there and interact (or defend yourself, ha-ha). Sometimes you can change people’s perceptions or break down people’s instinct to just hate on shit and actually have some cool dialogue. There are some great threads on there with book recommendations. There’s some shit on there that makes me crack up laughing when I’m in a bad mood. I sometimes learn about current events and world affairs from the Slap forum, believe it or not.
It’s awesome that it exists and I love it, despite the beatings that I sometimes take on there. I’m wearing a Slap hat right now actually. And to all the awesome people on Slap who watch my show and read my shit and post it up there and say cool shit, thanks so much for all the support.
I think Slap is actually where I first remember seeing your name – possibly a link to a story you wrote posted online, something like that. I certainly miss the print version. Anyway, not to beat on the Slap drum too much, but I think that’s also where I learned about Team Handsome. Is this still a thing? I feel like maybe you invented this. Regardless of its origin, can you tell me more about Team Handsome? For example: former, current, or future members?
I read and hear and get tagged in photos about Team Handsome every day so it must still be alive and well! I recently did a whole interview on Jenkem about it, better you link to that then me rehashing it all here. (ed.- You can find this interview here)
You recently had Giovanni Reda on Weekend Buzz. Here’s something I’ve always wondered: Is Reda always so charmingly annoying, or is that just his on-camera persona?
I’d say he’s pretty charming. He knows when to play it up for effect. He’s a talented dude. I thought he was gonna grill me on Buzz and he surprised me by being super cool and respectful and great to talk to. I don’t find him annoying at all, but I can see how people might think that. Getting to know him a bit definitely changes that perspective though.
Speaking of Weekend Buzz – I want to ask you about the concept of the show. How did things get started with Weekend Buzz? Also, I’ve noticed that some guys come on and talk, and don’t drink at all, whereas other guys have gotten pretty into it. Have you ever had any bad situations or repercussions from people drinking on the show?
The short version is that after my Free Lunch, Ride asked me to do a show. I couldn’t have been more stoked. Jesse Fritsch had some ideas how he wanted it to go, so we brought a bunch of dudes into the studio and tested out some conversational scenarios on camera. After a few test episodes I brought in Erica. Thought it would be fun to have a female dynamic in the mix. From there it just evolved and took on a life of its own. Here we are two years later and it’s been amazing. And no, there haven’t been any bad scenarios at all. The drinks aren’t there to get people wasted. We always want it to be more like hanging out at a bar or café with your favorite pros rather than some uptight and formal, stock interview. That’s all. And everyone’s been fun and awesome and I hope they’ve enjoyed themselves too. So thankful to the people at Ride, everyone who has come on the show and anyone who has helped me gather material for the show.
I’ve noticed some pretty nice old clips of yours sprinkled here and there over social media. Have you ever had your own video part? If so, can we see it?
Never had an official part. My sponsor me tape from ’93 is on my YouTube channel, as well as some other random clips of my crew and I from back in NJ in the late ‘90s and a little clip I did with Thunder. There’s stuff out there for sure. But when I was younger, average kids didn’t make parts like they do now. For the most part, it was either a sponsor-me tape or a real part for the company you rode for. Now with YouTube and access to cameras, making a part (other than the skating) is easy.
Speaking of video parts – One thing I’ve noticed about skateboarding is just how many kids can do tricks that just 10 years ago would be considered mind-blowing. I feel like ease of access to skateboarding media on the Internet has played a big part in the progression of skateboarding. Kids have stacks of clips 10 weeks into learning how to ride a skateboard. How do you feel about this phenomenon? Do you ever long for the old days of having to travel to see people doing new and exciting things? Do you think the Internet will keep skateboarding alive; keep it from phasing out like it has in the past?
I think it’s great.I love the progression. And seeing Tampa Pro or Street League or someone like Leo Romero skate in person will never be replaced by Internet footage. So no, I don’t long for the old days because those days are still here. Travelling and seeing things in the flesh is still alive and well and the best way to do it. And yes, the internet will definitely help keep skating going and in the public eye more than in the past when the skate media consisted of only print mags and VHS videos you had to get at a skate shop.
Imagine print media being banned 10 years from now. No new books, no newspapers. Could you live in this world?
Yes, because there would be a lot more trees. The medium doesn’t matter to me. Print, tablet, Instagram, VHS, DVD, app, whatever… it’s the content and how content creators embrace, innovate and maximize each medium that matters. Bring it.
Also check out this great interview with Rob over at DeafLens.net!
Helmut Newton is one of those names I’ve seen a million times. So often, in fact, it wasn’t interesting sounding at all to me. It wasn’t until recently when reading about the passing of Norman Mailer that I stumbled upon his actual work. What I quickly came to find was the fascinating story that was his life.
He found his first camera at the age of 12, and worked for a photographer in 1936. A bit later, he fled Germany after his father was briefly interned in a concentration camp just before World War 2. Along with his family, he fled to South America, and eventually ended up working as a photographer in Singapore. This lasted a couple of years, until he was interned by the British authorities, and sent to Australia. After his internment he joined the Australian army, and when WW2 finally ended, he became a British subject and officially changed his name to Newton. At this point in his life, he primarily focused on fashion and theatre photography, which brought him to collaborate with Wolfgang Sievers, a fellow refugee from Germany. Together, they exhibited ‘New Visions in Photography’, which helped bring New Objectivity to public light.
In the 50s, he lived in London, and continued to work with the fashion industry, contracting with Vogue magazine, and then some other French and Magazines after his eventual departure to Paris. At the end of the 50s, he briefly returned to Melbourne, Australia, before returning to Paris, where some of his most bold work ever began to take form.
Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar featured Newton’s work prominently in the 1960s. He developed a specific style of semi-erotic photography at this point in his life. Much of his work hinted at sadomasochism and fetish, but wasn’t so outright to be labeled as pornography.
In 1970, newton suffered a heart attack. Although his pace of life changed significantly, his boldness in photography kept it’s steady, exponential pace forward. In 1980, the Big Nudes series was released. Big Nudes featured rigidly posed, almost cold looking photos of women with bold, powerful posture that was a significant departure from other work at the time. Newton also shot a number of pictorials for Playboy magazine around this time period. Newton continued pushing forward well into 2003, and just after his death A Gun for Hire was released.
Helmut Newton worked on his art right up until his final days. At 83 years old, Newton had a close companionship with his wife, and never lost his touch with his ability to find provocative beauty outside of the typical studio environs that so many fashion photographers get caught up in. His work is such that you need not critique it, scrutinize it or translate it's meaning. His photography is bold, forward thinking, and timeless.
While much of his popular work features some kind of nudity or an implied sexual undertone, I feel like some of Newton’s best work lies in his portrait photography. I’m without a doubt that he is one of the most influential portrait photographers I’ve had the pleasure of learning about. Links / Cited: