Museum für Fotografie
Lonely Planet review for Museum für Fotografie
Berlin's Museum of Photography is still a work in progress. For now, its biggest tenant is the Helmut Newton Collection, which chronicles the artistic legacy of this Berlin-born enfant terrible of fashion and lifestyle photography on two floors of this former Prussian officers’ casino behind Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten. On the top floor, the gloriously restored barrel-vaulted Kaisersaal (Emperor’s Hall) forms a grand backdrop for high-calibre changing photography exhibits drawn from the archive of the State Art Library.
Shorty before his fatal car crash in 2004, Newton donated 1500 images along with personal effects to the city in which he was born in 1920. He had studied photography here with famed fashion photographer Yva before fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938. His work reflects a lifelong obsession with the female body, which he often portrayed in controversial, quasi-pornographic poses. One famous image shows a crouched model wearing a horse’s saddle, while his best-known work – the ‘Big Nudes’ series – stars a flock of stark-naked Amazons. Even his landscapes and still lifes are often charged with cold eroticism. The galleries on the 1st floor showcase his vision, while the ground floor is essentially a shrine to the man. Highlights include his partially recreated office in Monte Carlo, his first camera (an Agfa Box he bought aged 12) and his blue Jeep (dubbed the Newton-Mobile).
Tickets to this museum are also valid for same-day admission to the surrealist art collection of the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg.