Author(s): Helmut Newton
The biggest, most lavish book production of the 20th century is back! "Sumo" was a titanic book in every respect: a 480-page tribute to the 20th century's most influential, intriguing and controversial photographer, it broke records for weight, dimensions, and resale price. Helmut Newton (1920-2004) always demonstrated a healthy disdain for easy or predictable solutions. "Sumo" - a bold and unprecedented publishing venture - was an irresistible project. The idea of a spectacular compendium of images, a book with the dimensions of a private exhibition, reproduced to exceptional page size and to state-of-the-art origination and printing standards, emerged from an open, exploratory dialogue between photographer and publisher. With the physically commanding "Sumo" weighing in - boxed and shrink-wrapped - at 35.4 kilos, Newton created a landmark book that stood head and shoulders above anything previously attempted, either in terms of conceptual extravagance or technical specifications. Published in an edition of 10,000 signed and numbered copies, "Sumo" sold out soon after publication and quickly multiplied its value. This worldwide publishing sensation now features in numerous important collections around the world, including New York's Museum of Modern Art. Legendary "Sumo" copy number one, autographed by over 100 of the book's featured celebrities, also broke the record for the most expensive book published in the 20th century, selling at auction in Berlin on April 6, 2000 for 620,000 German Marks - approximately $430,000. "Sumo" established new standards for the art monograph genre, and secured a prominent place in photo-book history. This new edition is the fulfillment of an ambition conceived some years ago by Helmut Newton. He would surely be pleased that, a decade on from its first publication, "Sumo" - now in a format that allows for a more democratic distribution - will reach the widest possible audience. However, proud owners of the new edition won't wrestle with their copy of "Sumo".
Helmut Newton (1920-2004) was one of the most influential photographers of all time. Born in Berlin, he arrived in Australia in 1940 and married June Brunell (a.k.a. Alice Springs) eight years later. He first achieved international fame in the 1970's while working principally for French Vogue, and his celebrity and influence grew over the decades. Newton preferred to shoot in streets or interiors, rather than studios. Controversial scenarios, bold lighting, and striking compositions came to form his signature look. In 1990 he was awarded the Grand Prix National for photography; in 1992 the German government awarded him Das Grosse Verdienstkreuz for services to German culture, and he was appointed Officer des Arts, Lettres et Sciences by S.A.S. Princess Caroline of Monaco. In 1996, he was appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Minister of Culture at the time. Working and living in close companionship with his wife until his death at 83, his images remain as distinctive, seductive and orginal as ever.