Helmut Newton’s SUMO – The biggest, most lavish fetish photo book of the 20th century is back!

By on October 16, 2009

The late Helmut Newton was arguably the most famous fetish photographer ever. His iconic book, SUMO, was published in an edition of 10,000 signed and numbered copies. It broke all records for weight, size and retail price – SUMO was huge and it cost £7,500 UK pounds!

Helmut_Newton_SumoSUMO sold out soon after publication and quickly multiplied its value. This worldwide publishing sensation now features in numerous important collections around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Legendary SUMO copy number one, autographed by over 100 of the book’s featured celebrities, also broke the record for the most expensive book published in the 20th century, selling at auction in Berlin on April 6, 2000 for approximately US $430,000. Sadly, that was rather a lot above my price range, so I don’t have SUMO in my collection.

However, SUMO has been re-issued in a new edition that’s a bit more affordable, for less than £100, so more of us can enjoy it. It’s still pretty big, at 480 pages, measuring 26.7cm tall by 37.4cm wide – containing 400 images. And it comes with a special stand for displaying in your library. All most impressive!

This is a superb one-off for the serious fan of fetish imagery. Very many of Newton’s classic images are included and there are also plenty that you won’t have seen before. I loved some of the subtle ones – the women at the hotel door, or the couple overlooked by the lake. This is one of the best gifts I’ve seen – maybe one for yourself?

Tim Woodward

Order from www.taschen.com or buy it on Amazon

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About the artist:

Helmut Newton (1920-2004) was one of the most influential photographers of all time. Born in Berlin, he arrived in Australia in 1940 and married June Brunell (a.k.a. Alice Springs) eight years later. He first achieved international fame in the 1970’s while working principally for French Vogue, and his celebrity and influence grew over the decades. Newton preferred to shoot in streets or interiors, rather than studios. Controversial scenarios, bold lighting, and striking compositions came to form his signature look. In 1990 he was awarded the Grand Prix National for photography; in 1992 the German government awarded him Das Grosse Verdienstkreuz for services to German culture, and he was appointed Officer des Arts, Lettres et Sciences by S.A.S. Princess Caroline of Monaco. In 1996, he was appointed Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Minister of Culture at the time. Working and living in close companionship with his wife until his death at 83, his images remain as distinctive, seductive and orginal as ever.

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