Following their hugely successful event at Sydney Fashion Week, Stolen Girlfriends Club brought their exhibition of Helmut Newton reproductions back to New Zealand for a party and charity auction last night. The premise was simple: ten of Australasia’s top photographers were asked to reinterpret their favourite Helmut Newton photograph in any way they wanted. The results require some statistical information. Of the ten photos, four featured full frontal nudity, five featured breasts, three featured topless girls with breasts obscured from view, two featured wild animals (a crocodile and a bear – alongside or ridden by a nude or scantily clad model), three featured Australian next big thing model Louise Van de Vorst – more to come on her later, and one featured a mangina. I think the 40-something year old lady’s comment I overheard said it best: “There sure are a lot of c***s!”
The photographs were auctioned off with all proceeds going to the NZ AIDS Foundation, (Helmut’s wife June is a strong supporter of the AIDS cause). I felt sorry for the auctioneer; with that many people milling around he had to scream down the microphone and deal with the drunken fools pretending to bid then pulling out, yelling “psyche!” A whopping $10395 was raised for the cause, with the highest price going for Derek Henderson’s image of Louise Van de Vorst lying alongside a grizzly bear – it caused a bidding frenzy among the men and eventually sold for $2000.
Was it gratuitous? Absolutely. But enjoyable? Definitely. There’s something about males being allowed to leer at naked girls in the name of art analysis that never fails to bring a smile to my face.