Us and Them – Helmut Newton and Alice Springs


I was browsing in Waterstones today and found the book “Us and Them” featuring the work of Helmut Newton and Alice Springs.

Before buying this book I had no idea that Helmut Newton’s wife is also a photographer. June Newton, also known as June Browne but uses the pseudonym Alice Springs for her photographic work is a truly wonderful portrait photographer.

When I picked up the book I did think how much would Helmut Newton’s work influence the work by Alice Springs. After all there are many photographers past and present who try to emulate or indeed copy his style of working.

In the introduction written by Helmut Newton, he admits that his work has an element of “manipulation and editorialising” while her work has a “truth and simplicity” to it.

The book is split into five sections. Two self portrait sections, two sections with images of each other and the final section being the most interesting of “them”. In this section there is a side by side image by each photographer of the same subject.

I challenged myself to guess which image belonged to which photographer before looking at the captions. And in most cases I guessed correctly. Personally I prefer the images by Alice Springs more than those created by Helmut Newton. There is something more real and touching about her work when compared to his.

It is interesting that Helmut Newton is the bigger name in the photographic world and I wonder if Alice Springs would have had the opportunities had she not been married to him. But the book does go to show that it is possible to forge your own path in the shadow of a giant. And I am glad that the work of Alice Springs is around for us to admire.