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Australian photographer June Newton dies at 97

Australian photographer and actress, June Newton aka Alice Springs, wife of fashion photography pioneer Helmut Newton, died on April 9 at age 97.

Helmut Newton, Hotel Volney, New York, 1982. Source: The Helmut Newton Foundation.

The Helmut Newton Foundation, a Berlin-based museum handling the couple’s archive, announced that Newton died in her Monte Carlo home.

‘Born as June Browne in Melbourne, Australia, in 1923, she trained as an actress and had numerous engagements under the pseudonym June Brunell. In 1947 she met Helmut Newton, who had just set up a photo studio in Melbourne, and married him a year later. In 1956, she was awarded the Australia’s Erik Kuttner Award for best theater actress.’

While living in Paris in 1970, Helmut came down with influenza and was unable to attend a commercial shoot for Gitanes cigarettes. The fashion photographer showed his wife how to operate a camera and light meter, and she filled in under the pseudonym ‘Alice Springs’ as they thought one ‘Newton’ was enough. By 1974, one of Alice Springs’ photos landed on the cover of Elle magazine, and she shot photos for the likes of Vogue, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, Interview, Stern, and others.

Alice Springs lent more toward portraiture than fashion and photographed celebrities such as William S. Burroughs, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nicole Kidman, Roy Lichtenstein, Anthony Burgess, Catherine Deneuve, Graham Greene, Christopher Reeve, Diana Vreeland, Yves Saint Laurent, and Brigitte Nielsen.

‘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,’ the Helmut Newton foundation said. ‘Many portraits were magazine assignments from Paris to Los Angeles; others resulted from private initiative.’

Helmut and June Newton stayed together until 2004 when Helmut died in a car accident in Los Angeles. Months prior to his death, the photographer had set up the Helmut Newton Foundation, and June remained president of the organisation until her death. See her work here.

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