Helmut Newton, Rue Aubriot, Paris, 1975

Helmut Newton (Australian, b. Germany, 1920-2004), Rue Aubriot, Paris, 1975

Helmut Newton, (Australian, b. Germany, 1920-2004), Rue Aubriot, Paris, 1975. Gelatin Silver Print, 12 3/8 x 8 3/16 in. Gift of Dr. Kristaps J. Keggi, 1983.62.13

In this photograph taken for French Vogue, two models pose together in a Parisian alley at night. The rue Aubriot is a street located in the Marais district, which, from the late 1970s, became the center of “gay Paris.” The photograph dances between a surface of louche styling and a depth that, in not being revealed despite the nudity, excites our fantasy. In the context of fashion photography, this image suggests that no authentic self, no “truth” of gender or sexuality, is waiting to emerge from beneath a seemingly artificial surface of style that markets fashion as also a site of sexual play and gender experimentation.