Helmut Newton, 83, who led a life of physical, sexual and artistic adventure while becoming a celebrated fashion photographer who was sometimes known as the Prince of Porn or the King of Kink, was killed Jan. 23 in an automobile accident in Los Angeles.
From his days as a teenager in his native Germany and his escape from the Nazis to his artistic triumphs and his contributions to such publications as Playboy and Vogue, Mr. Newton led one of the more extraordinary lives of his time.
A child of privilege who became adept with a camera at an early age, he became a teenage refugee who survived for a time in Singapore as a gigolo. Ultimately, he won a following for photographs noted for their frequent reflection of aspects of life that were deemed dark, decadent and erotic.
It was a life that seemed in many ways the fulfillment of a cautionary observation made to him 70 years ago by his father: "All you think of is girls and photos."
In addition to an autobiography that was published last year, he was credited with at least eight much-admired books of photographs. One was the celebrated "Sumo." The massive volume, weighing more than 60 pounds -- as much art object as book -- was originally priced at $1,500 and later, according to a report in New York Newsday, sold in the $3,000 range.
Mr. Newton, one of the most notable names in the world of fashion photography, inspired many others to follow his example of producing high-contrast shots of models who bore a distinctive high-art look. The women were, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune art critic Doug McCash, distinguished by such characteristics as rigid carriage and hostile aura.
Readers of his autobiography learned of a man who was born Helmut Neustaedter into a comfortable middle-class family during the heady days of Germany's post-World War I Weimar Republic, with its flowering of both art and decay.
Indeed, as he wrote, "many of my fashion photographs have been taken in places that remind me of my childhood." He saw the street fights among the Nazis, Communists and the police, patronized prostitutes at an early age, and moved from school to school to flee the increasing strictures against Jews. At 16, he dropped out to became a photographer's apprentice.
As the Nazi threat mounted, the family fled. His parents headed to South America, but he set out for China and wound up in Singapore. He lasted two weeks shooting society pictures for the Straits Times newspaper. After that, according to his autobiography, he worked for a photographer called Madame Josette. They slept under a mosquito net in her suite in the storied Raffles Hotel. She was twice his age, and he regarded himself as a gigolo.
Later, he made his way to Australia, where he served in the army. After World War II, he changed his name to Newton and opened a photography studio. He soon began working for Australian Vogue. He moved to London, then to Paris, with his wife and muse, June Browne, and went to work for the prominent French fashion magazines.
Gradually, he built a reputation that grew throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
In retirement, he and his wife lived in Monte Carlo in an apartment overlooking the Mediterranean.