But photographer Alice Springs knew how to put stars like Grace Jones at ease—and her husband, Helmut, in heels.
The 95-year-old photographer June Newton, a.k.a. Alice Springs, is the widow of provocative fashion photographer Helmut Newton, but that’s the least interesting thing about her.
Under Springs’s gaze, world-famous actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, and Audrey Hepburn look like people, not icons—as if caught mid sentence in intimate conversation, their eyes telegraphing intellectual and emotional depth. Springs respects her subjects’ beauty but doesn’t accept it as a mask. There are shadows beneath Deneuve’s perfect features; Hepburn looks gorgeous but her age.
Early on, Springs decided to forgo studio portraits and photograph subjects on their own territory, peeling back the protective façades that prominent people often construct. “She quickly realized that photographing people in situ—their situ—was more revealing,” says her longtime agent, Tiggy Maconochie. The resulting photos, while artful, convey a feeling of frank exchange. “[Alice] does not use any tricks,” her husband wrote.
Springs’s earlier career as an actress in her native Australia surely informed her sensitivity to character and personality, but it was Newton who introduced her to photography. The couple met in Melbourne in 1947, when Springs was 23, and were married a year later. She followed his career, first to London, then Paris for 20 years, and later Los Angeles and Monte Carlo, where she still lives.
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