Biography

In the early 1970s, Alice Springs shot several campaigns for the French hair stylist Jean Louis David; the photographs appeared under her byline as full-page ads in renowned fashion magazines. 1974 saw the first Alice Springs cover image adorning French Elle.

By this time she had also received innumerable commissions for portraits, some of which have become iconic. The roster of artists, actors and musicians depicted by Alice Springs over the last 40 years reads like a who’s who of the international cultural scene on both sides of the Atlantic. Many portraits were magazine assignments from Paris to Los Angeles; others resulted from private initiative.

Alice Springs does more than document the appearance of celebrities and anonymous contemporaries; she captures their charisma, their aura. Her eye for people is mostly concentrated on people’s faces. Occasionally she narrowly frames her subjects in a half- or three-quarters’ length portrait, where the hands receive special attention as well. It might be that her deep knowledge of acting helps, how to simultaneously look at and beyond the human façade. This is particularly evident in her double portraits, in which the protagonists’ interaction is perfectly staged.

There is a certain sense of familiarity in her images; actually they oscillate between distance and intimacy. In her subtle portraits we encounter the haughty stance alongside natural self-confidence as well as the shy glance. Dramatic poses are seldom, and the process occurs without grand gestures on the part of the photographer. Her images are visual commentaries that interpret the photographed.

Helmut Newton, Self Portrait with wife and models, Paris, 1981

1923: born June Browne in Melbourne; training as actress, numerous engagements under the artist name June Brunell.

1947: meets Helmut Newton, who had recently opened a photo studio in Melbourne; and marries him a year later.

1956: they travel through Europe and live in London and Paris, later again in Melbourne. Acting engagements for BBC and receives Erik Kuttner Award for best theatre actress.

1961: they move from Melbourne for the last time to Paris, first residing in Rue Aubriot, later in Rue de l’Abbé de l’Epée. June’s acting career ends due to the language barriers. She begins to paint.

1964: the Newtons buy a house in Ramatuelle near the Cote d’Azur, where they will always spend several weeks of the year.

1970: June stands in for Helmut Newton who is incapacitated by illness, for a commercial photo shoot in Paris. Thus begins her career as commercial photographer under the pseudonym Alice Springs. her work includes advertisements such as Jean-Louis David as well as editorials in magazines like Dépêche Mode, Elle, Marie-Claire, Vogue, Nova, and Mode Internationale.

1976: she begins to dedicate her work to portrait photography, publishing images in renowned magazines like Egoïste, Vanity Fair, Interview, Stern, Photo and Passion. In addition, she oversees production of all books and exhibition catalogues of Helmut Newton as Art Director for almost three decades.

1978: first solo exhibition of her portraits in Amsterdam – the first of many to follow worldwide.

1981: the couple leave France and move to Monaco. Winter months are regularly spent in California, where June Newton photographs numerous Hollywood actors, directors as well as the Hell’s Angels.

1983: French publication of a volume of Portrait Photography. The volume is published three years later in the USA and five years later in Germany.

1995: production of the documentary film Helmut by June for the French television channel Canal Plus.

1998: Swiss publication of the volume Us and Them by Helmut and June Newton, accompanied by an exhibition tour in several countries.

2004: June Newton’s autobiography Mrs Newton is released by a German publishing house.

2004: opening of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin which features their joint exhibition Us and Them, including June Newton’s portraits of her husband on his deathbed in Los Angeles. The new museum for photography will serve as a significant forum for her work as well.

Publications

Art director for all books and publications of Helmut Newton.

Alice Springs. Portraits
Editions du Regard, Paris 1983
Twelvetrees Press, Pasadena 1986
Schirmer/Mosel, Munich 1991

Alice Springs. Portraits
Exhibition catalog, Musée Sainte-Croix, Poitiers 1985

Alice Springs
Exhibition catalog, Espace Photo Paris, Paris Audiovisuell 1986

Alice Springs. Portraits récents
Exhibition catalog, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris 1988

Alice Springs. Retratos
Exhibition catalog, Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, 1990

Helmut Newton / Alice Springs, Us and Them
Scalo, Zurich 1998
Taschen, Cologne 2016

Mrs. Newton
Taschen, Cologne 2004

Alice Springs. Photographs
Taschen, Cologne 2010

Alice Springs, The Paris Mep Show
Taschen, Cologne 2016

Exhibitions

1978
Canon Gallery, Amsterdam

1980
Canon Gallery, Geneva
Duc et Camroux, Paris

1982
David Heath Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
The Yuen Lui Gallery, Seattle, Washington

1983
Olympus Gallery, London
Galerie de France, Paris

1984
Musée Cheret, Nice

1985
Musée Sainte-Croix, Poitiers
Documenta Gallery, Turin

1985
Centre Cultural, Orléans

1986
Centre Culturel et Artistique, Aubusson
Espace Photographique de la Ville de Paris

1987
Fotoforum, Frankfurt

1988
Galerie Fiolet, Amsterdam
Olympus Galerie, Hamburg
National Portrait Gallery, London
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

1990
Museo Contemporáneo, Mexico City

1991
Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn

1992
Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles
Gaby Fenne Galerie, Bonn

1993
Arrêt sur l’image Galerie, Bordeaux
Galerie am Alten Rathaus am Markt, Wittlich
Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig
Foto Forum, Bremen

1997
Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne

2005
June’s Dark Room, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

2007
Snapshots Ramatuelle, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

2010
Retrospective, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

2011
Retrospective, Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover

2012
Retrospective, Carla Sozzani Galleria, Milan

2015
Alice Springs, Maison Europeéne de la Photographie, Paris

2016
Alice Springs. The Mep Show / Helmut Newton. Yellow Press / Mart Engelen. Portraits, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin

2018
Alice Springs. Portraits, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin


Us And Them, Alice Springs and Helmut Newton

1998
Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen

1999
Museet for Fotokunst, Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark
Kunsthalle, Rotterdam
Maison Européene de la Photographie, Paris
Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan

2000
Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo
Joseph-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Cologne

2004, 2014
Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin