7 Lessons Helmut Newton Can Teach You About Photography

I remember the first time I came across the work of Helmut Newton. I was in Paris, randomly walking around, when I saw posters for these huge nude photographs. I went to the exhibition, and was blown away by the powerful images of Helmut Newton. His photos of women showed them as powerful, assertive, sexual, and also dominant. The photos were also printed larger-than life. I remember one of his images printed about 20 feet tall.

Warning: Some photos in this post show nudity and are NSFW (not safe for work):

Why I wanted to study Helmut Newton© Estate of Helmut Newton

I’m currently inspired by a lot of the fashion photographers— how they were able to create alternate realities with their photographs. Furthermore, I love the spontaneity that happens a lot in fashion photography, as well as the sense of mystery in the images.

I’m highly inspired by Richard Avedon and Guy Bourdin—two photographers who tippy-toed between fashion photography and “fine art” photography.

Enter Helmut Newton — another of the main titans of fashion photography from the era. The difference between Helmut Newton’s work is that they were much more flamboyant, less calculated, yet more sexualized.

One thing that also drew me to Newton’s work was how simple his gear and his shooting style was. He often just shot with a simple Canon 35mm SLR camera, with all automatic settings, and a simple flash connected to the top of his camera. Once an art director brought in a bunch of fancy lights for him to use, Newton put them all away, and just used his simple setup.© Estate of Helmut Newton

Furthermore, he was famous for shooting in hotels, pools, and on the streets. He didn’t do much shoots against white backdrops, because he felt that they weren’t as real.

Helmut Newton lived an illustrious life as a fashion photographer, and was also very commercially successful in his lifetime. He ended his life brilliantly— crashing his Cadillac into the famed Chateau Marmont hotel (where he lived).

Below are some lessons that Helmut Newton has taught me about photography; lessons you can apply to your photography as well.
1. Create structure and discipline in your work© Estate of Helmut Newton

“This is why I continue accepting commissions, even though economically I don’t have to. Because making money gives me a kick, but also because I think it’s important for me to have the discipline, to work for somebody within a given frame. At least from time to time.” – Helmut Newton

By the time Helmut Newton said the above, he was a successful and rich photographer. Yet he still decided to take on commissions— because it gave him a sense of structure and discipline to his work.

I feel that in our photography, it can help us to have structure. I’ve found that personally by having unlimited time and freedom, it is hard to motivate yourself to take photos. However when we’re given constraints — we tend to be more creative.

For example, if we have constraints in terms of time — we don’t fritter away our precious free time. We will use our precious time on the weekends or after work to make photos.

If you work as a commercial photographer, often working under the constraints of a client will help you in your work. Some photographers when given complete control falter. Because many of us need a sense of direction.

Ultimately you just want to find a structure and a way to motivate yourself. If you thrive with structure; demand it. If you feel that structure constrains you; throw it away.
2. Don’t repeat yourself© Estate of Helmut Newton

“At my age, the one thing I don’t want to do is repeating myself. I don’t want to work for fashion magazines any more, doing the same shit, even if it was good and fun at the time.” – Helmut Newton

Many of us as photographers are seeking our vision, our voice, and our own “style.”

However trying to find a style can restrict you creatively. Because in order to have a distinct “style” — you need to keep repeating yourself, to create a distinct and consistent look.

In his career, Helmut Newton created a distinct style. His photographs were sexy, often shot with a direct flash, in hotel rooms or pools, and with an air of mystery.

However after a long career of shooting fashion, he was fed up. He felt like he was constantly repeating himself, and he just became bored. This led him to pursuing photography projects he was interested in — like shooting self-portraits, and also shooting nudes.© Estate of Helmut Newton

In your photography, you want to thrive creatively. If you ever hit a place where you feel like you’re just repeating yourself, not having fun — switch things up.

Ask yourself the crucial question: “What do I really want out of my photography? What excites me in my photography? What styles of photography am I interested in, but haven’t tried out yet? How can I take my work to the next level, and keep things fun and interesting?”

Don’t let the fear of trying something new put shackles on your creativity.
3. Embrace the beauty of imperfection© Estate of Helmut Newton

“What I try to do is a good bad picture. I work it out very carefully, and then I do something that looks as if it went wrong. This is also why I abandoned Kodachrome, it looks too professional, too fine grain, too perfect, I’d rather get what I call funky colour, I don’t mind if it’s all wrong – as long as it’s not too horrible. For the same reasons I like it when the camera is not quite straight, when something happens that’s not perfect. But of course I start off with the professionalism.” – Helmut Newton

One unique thing about Helmut Newton’s work is that he didn’t seek perfection — rather, he liked his images to look more casual, less polished, and more “amateurish.” This lead him to shooting with simple cameras, with simple settings, and with simple lighting.© Estate of Helmut Newton

In an age where most fashion photographers were aiming for fine grain, shooting with medium and large-format cameras, and compositional perfection; Helmut Newton rebelled.

I feel that in our photography, we try to get the “perfect shot.” We want every element in the frame to be perfect, and often spend a lot of time post-processing our photos, cropping them, and adjusting them to look as good as possible.

But by intentionally letting imperfection creep into your photos — they feel more genuine. They feel more real. They feel less manufactured. They feel more personal.

This is why I love street photography — the real world isn’t perfect. Yet it is all about finding beauty in imperfection which makes photography so exciting.

4. Reflect on your old photos© Estate of Helmut Newton

One interesting takeaway I got from Helmut Newton is that he never throws away his old photos. In-fact, he finds that the longer he waits and sits on his photos, and lets them “marinate” — the more interesting he finds certain photos.

For example, he talks about his editing process of choosing his best images:

“I always show my photographs to June. I make a choice and she makes one, sometimes we agree, more often we are totally opposed. But she is an excellent editor, while I really hate editing, I think it’s boring. What I find very interesting is that when I get my contact sheets back from the lab I would choose one shot, but when I look at it a year later something else will interest me.”

This often happens in my photography — a photo that I find interesting this year might seem boring next year. But then again, a photo I think is boring this year, might be more interesting next year.

© Estate of Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton also stresses the importance of never throwing away (or deleting) your images:

“That’s why one must never throw anything away. Everything changes, your whole idea about things changes, at least mine does. I do have certain taboos. But these also change, they get less and less as I get older. I used to hate girls that stood like this, the hands like a fish. And then, all of a sudden, when I did the Big Nude book, I thought : ‘Oh, I like that’, and I made the girl stand that way. All of a sudden I started liking it. Everything changes. I look at things in an entirely different way today than I did five years ago.”

Realize that as time goes on, your tastes and artistic vision are going to change and evolve. A lot of photographers spend a long time curating their archives, and often revisiting older work. Sometimes your older work will spark new interest for you.
© Estate of Helmut Newton

For me personally, I often change the images and projects in my portfolio. With certain projects, as time goes on, the more I like them. Other projects, as time goes on, I begin to despise looking at the photos. For the photos that get better with time, I keep. For the photos that I hate looking at over time, I remove from my portfolio.

Helmut Newton also talks about how letting your photos sit and “marinate” for a long time are especially interesting in fashion photography — as it can show a change in the times:

“I think that the older a fashion photograph is, the more interesting it gets. And there is another thing that I think is important. You tend to go in close. Well I pull back. Back, back, back. Because I found that what worried me when I took the picture, some car going by, some persons, something in the background that shouldn’t be there, has become fascinating years later, because it’s part of the time captured. So I started going back.”

Often we romanticize older photos— because things looked so much “more interesting” back then. However to the photographers shooting in the 1920s and the past didn’t find top-hats, people reading newspapers and the such as “interesting.” These photos have only become more interesting as time has gone on, because photos from the past are always more nostalgic and retro.

Know that the photos you shoot today are going to be a lot more interesting as time goes on. The photos you shoot today of people on their iPhones — 50 years from now people are going to find your photos strange and “retro.” In 100 years, the backgrounds in your photographs and the cars in your photos are going to be interesting to the viewer.
© Estate of Helmut Newton

Personally, I try to backup my photos as faithfully as I can — and keep my archives organized. However at the same time, I try not to hoard all of my photographs, because honestly, I rarely (if ever) look back at any archives older than 4 years ago.

However what I do is look back at photos from 1–2 years ago, and try to re-evaluate them. At the end of every year, I also try to go back through my Lightroom catalog of the year, and try to dig out “hidden gems” I might have not seen.

In today’s age, archiving your digital work is a nightmare. What I try to do is just export my favorite images and “maybe” photos to folders on my hard drive as JPEG images, and also back them up on Dropbox, Flickr, and the cloud. And ultimately my favorite photos, I print them out (because who knows how accessible our hard drives and cloud storage systems will be in the future?)

As for you, figure out a system that works for you. I do find it fun to go back to my archives and look at older images. But some people find it as holding them back — because they live in the past.

Do what works for you.
5. Shoot for yourself
© Estate of Helmut Newton

Ultimately, you want to shoot for yourself. The more you shoot for yourself, the more authentic your photos are going to be, the more happiness your photography will bring you, and the more creative you will be.

Helmut Newton tells a story of when he first got admitted into the hospital, and started to shoot more personal photos — photos that were truly for himself:

“In the hospital, for the first time, I took pictures for myself. During my convalescence I acquired a small electronic, automatic camera. I took pictures of everything: the visitors, the nurses, the doctors. Perhaps it was to distract me from my illness. Never before had I taken pictures for myself. Marvelous trips had been taken, sublime models had been met, but nothing was left, not the smallest photograph as a record of it all. When, after 10 days of reserved diagnosis, the doctor told me that I would live but I would have to be prudent, I promised myself to take all the pictures that I felt like taking.”

Helmut Newton spent most of his career taking photos for others— for his clients, fashion magazines, and commercial outlets. Once he started to shoot for himself, he got a “second wind” in his work — and only focused on shooting what truly interested him (nudes):

“The year after my coronary, I gave up fashion and did nudes, nothing but nudes. But very quickly this became even more boring than clothes. I came back to fashion with enthusiasm, having nevertheless acquired new experience with the nude. For myself, then, I began to make what I call erotic portraits. They are nudes or semi-nudes, always in black and white.”

By focusing on nudes, Helmut Newton found out that it wasn’t that interesting to him. However this helped him gain a new enthusiasm for his fashion work, and also helped him bridge his fashion work with nudes. It also helped him work on what he called “erotic portraits” — a new style and direction for him.

Many of us make photographs because it is fun, because it helps us express ourselves, and it helps us escape some of the dread of daily 9–5 office life.

One of the downsides of being a commercial photographer is that you need to shoot for others in order to make a living. But if you are a hobbyist or if photography is your passion, consider yourself blessed. You have the freedom to shoot for yourself, and to please yourself— the greatest blessing of all.
6. Focus on hands

© Estate of Helmut Newton

As a practical tip, Helmut Newton mentions how important hands are in his photography:

“I’ve always liked the idea of cowboys — the way they look, they way they walk, especially in the movies. Why? A cowboy stands a certain way. He’s got a gun here, a gun there, his hands are always ready to draw. So I make the girls into cowgirls — with their hands ready to reach for the guns. But I don’t tell them, I just show them. I stand for them. I show them exactly what they should be doing.”

How do we want the hands of our subjects to look? Helmut Newton says they need to have some sort of energy and strength:

“The hands are very important. It’s not that they’re always active, but they must have a certain strength.

I’ve also discovered this in my photography — in order to make powerful photographs with emotion, energy, and vigor — you want to focus on body language, and especially hands.© Estate of Helmut Newton

When it comes to photographing your subjects, you can do two things:
a) If you’re shooting street photography, only photograph people who are doing interesting hand gestures or things with their hands.
b) If you’re directing your subject, ask them to do something interesting with their hands, either by showing them yourself, or by asking them to play with their hair, their face, their facial hair, sunglasses, or something else.

If you are interested in portrait photography, look at how many successful photographers incorporate hands and gestures into the photograph. That is a key thing you can use to improve your photos.

7. Use simple gear

“I think things are complicated enough without making them more so, I think this is why my technical equipment is very simple, very basic because it gives me more time to work with the girl which is the most important thing.” – Helmut Newton

Technology should empower us, rather than distract us.

In photography, we are overly-obsessed with our tools and technical settings. Why? Because we use it to cover up our own insecurities and lack of artistry and creativity. We wrongly think that by buying a new camera or lens, we can suddenly make better photos.© Estate of Helmut Newton

But in reality, we should strive to use simple equipment, with the simplest settings— in order to focus on what is truly important.

For example, in street photography — I like to “set it and forget it” by setting my camera in “P” (program) mode, where the camera automatically chooses the aperture and shutter speed. I set my ISO high (1600–3200) to make sure I get no blur in my photos. I set my camera’s autofocus to the center. And then I just shoot.

By not worrying about my technical settings, I can focus on framing, interacting with my subjects, getting close, and “working the scene.”© Estate of Helmut Newton / David Bowie Contact Sheet

If you are a commercial photographer, the less you worry about your gear and technical settings, the more you can work with your models, your subjects, or in capturing “the decisive moment.”© Estate of Helmut Newton

There is no “right” or wrong equipment or technical settings to use. But just find out what is the simplest for you, in order to make the photos you want to.

Get Ready for Fall, Photographers. Here Are 5 Photo Tips for Autumn

The frost is on the pumpkin, folks, and that means it’s time to get ready for fall. Here are five things to have in mind as we slip from Daylight Saving Time into the long nights and short days of winter.

“When the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder’s in the shock,” sorry – but every time I start to read that poem I crack up. No offense intended to James Whitcomb Riley, “The Hoosier Poet;” hell, I’m from Indiana, too. But I think Jim Bob was funnin’ us, and if you read the rest of the poem, you’ll probably agree.

1. Oh, Give me a Home Where Didymium Roam
Didymium (it’s pronounced just like it sounds) is a transparent material which contains praseodymium and neodymium and is used by glassblowers and welders to protect their eyes from harmful work-related radiation. You can use it to add that extra snap to pictures of fall foliage. Hoya and other filter makers offer didymium filters in various sizes and usually label them as “Intensifier” filters or some name akin to that. Polarizers are useful, too, but if you haven’t tried didymium, you’re not getting your minimum daily requirement of rare earth elements.

2. Get Your Bearings 
Great shots of autumn leaves are more about when to go than where to go. You probably already have your favorite spots; it’s just a question of whether or not the trees are ripe. Our friends at weather.com publish a great map that takes the guesswork out of the equation. See it here. In addition to a national map they offer regional sections, too.

3. Sunrise, Sunset!
I enjoy sharing this tip because it’s useful year round. What time does the sun rise? When, exactly, does it set? The US Navy knows, and they maintain a website to share the information. And by the way, Daylight Saving Time ends on 06-NOV this year, so take that into account when studying their charts.

4. But Baby it’s Cold Outside
Keeping your fingers warm when taking pictures in the winter can be a challenge. Keep a hokaron in your pocket and you’ll be so cozy that people will wonder what you’re up to. Hokaron are single-use chemical hand warmers that originated in Japan. You can order Lotte brand hokaron from Amazon for about $1.69 each in packs of ten. For the more adventurous among you, adhesive-backed hokaron allegedly can be stuck to undergarments and other inconspicuous areas that need warmth.

Farmers Markets are a good source for fall colors and textures.

5. Get Your Bokeh On
Because of the intense colors and naturally abstract nature of fall foliage, it’s a good time to play with bokeh by using telephoto lenses to isolate a leaf or two against a mottled background. The shot illustrated at the top of this story was taken with a 25mm f/0.95 lens at close range. The depth of field is so shallow that it produced a pleasant bokeh effect. This image also reminds you that it’s not necessary to shoot a whole tree to capture some fall color.


Group Ransacks Moscow Exhibition Of Photos From Eastern Ukraine

Dozens of people, some of them in military and traditional Cossack uniforms, have destroyed photos taken in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine that were on exhibit in Moscow.

The group of men and women entered the Sakharov Center in Moscow on September 29, carrying a large jar containing a red liquid with a label saying "Blood of Donbas Children Killed by Ukrainian Army."

They tore down all of the photos in the exhibition, which had been organized by the Center of Documentary Photography, demanding its closure and threatening to sue the organizers for "propagating extremism."

The photos were taken in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where government forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists since April 2014.

On September 28, a man sprayed the photographs with red paint and called the photographers -- Alyaksandr Vasyukovich of Belarus and Russia's Sergei Loiko -- "fascists."


Bob Dylan - I'll be at the Nobel Prize ceremony... if I can

“Isn’t that something…?” Bob Dylan isn’t exactly making a big deal out of being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. But at least the 1960s trailblazer is finally acknowledging his becoming the first musician to be granted admission to the world’s most elite literary club.

When I ask him about his reaction to hearing the news a fortnight ago that he is to follow in the footsteps of George Bernard Shaw, TS Eliot, Winston Churchill, William Faulkner, Günter Grass, Ernest Hemingway and Harold Pinter, I have no idea what to expect.

Dylan, now 75, is on tour in Oklahoma, and we had been due to discuss his new exhibition of artworks, depicting iconic images of American landscapes and urban scenes, which opens to the public at the Halcyon Gallery on London's New Bond Street next week.

Since it was announced he had been chosen by the Swedish Academy to receive the Nobel, Dylan has made no public reference at all to it, save for a fleeting mention on his own website that was deleted within 24 hours.

More than that, he has also reportedly refused to pick up the phone to speak to representatives of the Nobel committee.

They apparently remain in the dark about whether he will be attending the ceremony on December 10, when he will receive a cheque for £750,000 from King Carl VI Gustaf.


Well, I can put them out of their misery. For when I ask about his Nobel, Dylan is all affability. Yes, he is planning to turn up to the awards ceremony in Stockholm. “Absolutely,” he says. “If it’s at all possible.”

And as he talks, he starts to sound pretty pleased about becoming a Nobel laureate. “It’s hard to believe,” he muses.

His name has been mentioned as on the shortlist for a number of years, but the announcement was certainly not expected. When he was first told, it was, Dylan confides, “amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?”

In which case, I can’t help but ask, why the long public silence about what it means? Jean-Paul Sartre famously declined the award in 1964, but Dylan has these past weeks seemed intent on simply refusing to acknowledge its existence, so much so that one of the normally tight-lipped Nobel committee labelled him “impolite and arrogant”.

For his part, Dylan sounds genuinely bemused by the whole ruckus. It is as if he can’t quite fathom where all the headlines have come from, that others have somehow been over-reacting.

Couldn’t he just have taken the calls from the Nobel Committee?

'You can carry a sketchbook anywhere,' says Dylan

“Well, I’m right here,” he says playfully, as if it was simply a matter of them dialling his number, but he offers no further explanation.

It is over a quarter of a century since I first interviewed Bob Dylan. That was back in 1989, and he started off so reticent that he was monosyllabic.

When I asked him a question about the 1960s, he snapped at me. What I did then was start over and ask all the same questions again. It worked. We ended up doing a two-and-a-half hour interview.

If there is one thing I have learned about him over the years, and the several interviews he has granted me, it is that he always does the unexpected.

Bob Dylan has never made a secret of the fact that he doesn’t like the media. It is two years since he last spoke to a journalist. He does it his way.

So, for all the speculation over the last two weeks about the reasons behind his blanket silence on the Nobel award, I can only say that he is a radical personality – which is why he has remained of so much interest to us over six decades since he first emerged on the Manhattan music scene in 1962 – and cannot be tied down, even by the Nobel Prize committee.

In interviews over the years, the famously unpredictable Dylan has been by turns combative, amiable, taciturn, philosophical, charismatic, caustic and cryptic.

He has seemed intent, most of all, on being fiercely private and frustratingly unknowable. Hence his apparent toying with the Nobel committee cannot be said to have come entirely out of the blue.

Perhaps it is just that he has grown casual about garlands that would send the rest of us into orbit, as he has received so many in the course of his long career in the spotlight, since songs such as Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin’ became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.

Among many others, he has received a Special Citation Pulitzer (2008), the National Medal of Arts (2009), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012), as well as France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1990) and the Légion d’Honneur (2013).

Dylan has received many awards during his long career

So does he agree with the Nobel committee, I ask, that his songs belong alongside great works of literature? Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, for example, has linked Dylan’s contribution to literature with the writers of ancient Greece.

“If you look back, far back, 2,500 years or so,” she has said, “you discover Homer and Sappho, and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, they were meant to be performed, often together with instruments, and it’s the same way with Bob Dylan. But we still read Homer and Sappho… and we enjoy it, and same thing with Bob Dylan. He can be read, and should be read.”

A new exhibition of Dylan's artworks opens at London's Halcyon Gallery in November

Dylan treats her words with a certain hesitation. “I suppose so, in some way. Some [of my own] songs –Blind Willie, The Ballad of Hollis Brown, Joey, A Hard Rain, Hurricane, and some others – definitely are Homeric in value.”

He has never, of course, been one to explain his lyrics. “I’ll let other people decide what they are,” he tells me. “The academics, they ought to know. I’m not really qualified. I don’t have any opinion.”

On the associated question of whether those same lyrics can be considered poetry, Dylan has long delighted in publicly changing his mind.

He is perfectly capable in one interview of saying that they can, and then the next time he grants a journalist an audience saying that they can’t.
Some [of my songs]...are definitely Homeric in value

At heart, he just likes to remain beyond reach. He is as elusive over the question of religion as he is over his songs. Born Jewish, in the late 1970s he released two Christian-themed albums that appeared to suggest he was born-again, but followed them by holding his eldest son Jesse’s bar mitzvah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the holiest of Jewish sites. (In total, Dylan has six children from two marriages.)

This refusal to explain extends to other aspects of his creative work. Dylan has been working as a visual artist, in tandem with his music, he explains, since the 1960s. “I’m not obsessed with painting,” he laughs. “It’s not all I do.”

'There’s a certain intensity in writing a song,' says Dylan CREDIT: REX

But news of his Nobel Prize for Literature has coincided with the opening at London’s Halcyon Gallery of The Beaten Path, a new exhibition of his watercolours and acrylics – his fourth at the Mayfair venue since 2008.

Is there a parallel between song-writing and painting?

“There’s a certain intensity in writing a song,” he replies, “and you have to keep in mind why you are writing it and for who and what for,” he says. “Paintings, and to a greater extent movies, can be created for propaganda purposes, whereas songs can’t be.”
You have to know your place. There might be some things that are beyond your talents

His artwork has been on walls in museums and in private collections around the world since 2007, but devotees first began noticing his painterly ways when he did album covers for The Band’s Music from Big Pink in 1967, and his own Self-Portraitin 1970.

A book of drawings, 1994’s Drawn Blank, grew into a series of paintings that first went public nine years ago in Germany before travelling to London, Edinburgh, Tokyo and Turin.

He later assembled collections inspired by trips to Asia and Brazil, before Halcyon directors Paul Green and Udi Sheleg suggested he look instead in his own backyard for inspiration. (When he’s not on the road, Dylan lives in Malibu, California.)
Bob Dylan - 1984 interview with Mick BrownPlay!04:16

For his four exhibitions at the gallery, he has crisscrossed America, often combining his painting with touring his music.

“Well, it’s the land I know best, really, and Halcyon Gallery was probably aware of that, too,” he says. “At first, it was just a series of landscapes they suggested – landscapes without people – so I did that. To me, that meant mountains, lakes, rivers, fields and so forth.

"Sometime later they expanded the idea to include city façades, bridges, automobiles, streets and theatres. Anything outdoors. It’s not an idea I would have thought of myself, although I could relate to it.”

While straightforward, many of the images – a shadowy figure in a phone booth in Midnight Caller or deserted tables in Ice Cream Shack – suggest stories and secrets.

Others, such as Staring at the Moon, Rooftop Parking Lot, Night Train and Del Rio, convey isolation and solitude, even loneliness, but that may simply be a by-product of escaping the frenzy and hollowness of urban life. 

When it comes to meaning, Dylan is, it becomes clear, no more keen to explain his paintings than he is his lyrics. “Different people read different things into what they see,” he says. “It’s all subjective.”

Dylan welds one of his iron installations

Having been touring practically non-stop since 1988, Dylan grabs opportunities on the road to sketch and paint. This way, he’s not tied to timetables, methods or locations.

“I just do it,” he says. “All kinds of places. Wherever I am, really. You can carry a sketchbook anywhere. Watercolours are easy to work with. You can set them up anywhere. The easels and paints are transferable. As far as acrylics and oils, I do them in a barn-like studio or a larger space. I can work in other painters’ studios, too. 

“As a rule, I usually avoid overcrowded streets. You just have to find some vantage point that feels right. All of these things take time, and you are not going to get it down all at one time.

“Once I put the generic forms down, later I can use pixellated imagery, photographs, advertisements, optical devices and so forth, to reconfigure things to complete the picture.

Theater, Downtown LA by Bob Dylan

"There’s a process to it. I usually work on more than one painting at a time. Each one is different, depending how simple or complex they are. They all take different lengths of time.” 

A few years ago, Dylan began exhibiting huge iron installations, a number of which appear in the new Halcyon show. Bill Clinton was given one of his gates for his 65th birthday, and a 26x15ft archway entitled Portal will become Dylan’s first public artwork when it goes on permanent display in Maryland later this year. 

Endless Highway 3 by Bob Dylan

“I was putting iron together even as far back as in my hometown [Hibbing, Minnesota, an iron-mining town], but it was always only a hobby,” he says. “I can’t remember not doing it. It’s just not something I thought anybody else would be interested in. Most of my iron pieces up until the recent years were just for friends and family or myself.”

As a painter, writer, film-maker, actor and disc jockey, Dylan plainly sees no limitations to artistic expression. But he does recognise his own limitations.

“There’s a lot of things I’d like to do,” he says. “I’d like to drive a race car on the Indianapolis track. I’d like to kick a field goal in an NFL football game. 

I’d like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball. But you have to know your place. There might be some things that are beyond your talents.

“Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for. 

Like it or not, you are in this alone and have to follow your own star.”

Classic Car Show, Cleveland, Ohio by Bob Dylan

Halcyon Gallery presents a major exhibition of new works by Bob Dylan from 5 November to 11 December. The Beaten Path features a wide collection of drawings, watercolours and acrylic works on canvas which depict the artist’s view of American landscapes and urban scenes. 

For more information, visit www.halcyongallery.com, call 020 7100 7144 or email bobdylan@halcyongallery.com.

Edna Gundersen


Stunning photos show how different young people's bedrooms look around the world

An artist has created a stunning series of photographs the depict the bedrooms of young people from different places around the world.

French photographer and film maker John Thackwray spent six years travelling the globe for his project 'My Room Photos'. In total he visited 55 countries, and interviewed 1200 young people.

Thackwray, who has also created music videos and documentaries, has focused his personal work on human rights and development issues such as lack of education in some parts of the world.

The 'My Room Photos' project is a part of this effort, exposing global inequality.

The images are being published in a book, due to come out at the end of 2016, but can be preordered now, available in English or French.

Speaking to indy100, Thackwray, explained his motivation for the expedition.

I was curious about lifestyle and culture, about how the world is mutating faster and faster. I photographed, and interview all my candidates about their life and the problems they have to face. My questions are about violence, poverty, religion, women's condition, ecology. 

In each country, Thackwray attempted to interview between 40-60 young people aged between 18 and 30. He endeavoured to get an equal balance of men and women, rich and poor, urban and rural.

Asked what he found was common to all of the bedrooms he visited, Thackwray answered:

It's actually not really the bedroom, but more precisely where they sleep. Most of them share an access to Internet and social network, including Saudi young women and farmers in the African bush. This is definitely the connected generation, allowing me to stay in touch with most of them. 

Thackwray also told us what he had planned next:

I have to finish the publication of the My Room project book, and work on the translation of it in some different languages.

I already know what should come next. It’s also a long term project. I only can say that My Room is talking about youth and geography, and my next project gonna [sic] talk about love and history.

Some of the exquisite images from the book can be seen below.

Room 024 - Joseph, 30, Artist - Paris, France

Picture: John Thackwray

Room 416 - Oleg, 24, Telecom Engineer - Novosibirsk, Russia

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 466 - Élahé, 29 - Painter - Téhéran, Iran

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 192 - Andreea, 24 - Civil Engineer - Bucharest, Romania

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 205 - Gullé, 29 - Actress - Istanbul, Turkey

Picture: (John Thackwray)


Room 219 - Maleeq, 28 - Entertainer - New York City, United States

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 256 - Ryoko, 25 – IT Engineer - Tokyo, Japan

Picture: (John Thackwray)


Room 290 - Yuan, 22 – Seller- Dali, China

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 458 - Zhalay, 18 - High School - Zhanbyl, Kazakhstan

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 665 - Marcello, 18 - High School Student - La Paz, Bolivia

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 711 - Claudio, 24 - Archivist - Rio, Brazil

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 915 - Josee, 22 - Accounting Student - Kigali, Rwanda

Picture: (John Thackwray)

Room 1093 - Sabrina, 27 - Kinder garden - Shatila, Lebanon

Picture: (John Thackwray)


Room 385 - Pema, 22 - Buddhism Student - Katmandu, Nepal

Picture: (John Thackwray)
You can preorder the book here.