Three Boys From Pasadena
For almost thirty years, they kept in touch and shared their personal work with both Helmut and June. June first conceptualized the idea of the " Three Boys from Pasadena" after Helmut's death, and is now honoring them with this group exhibition at the Helmut Newton Foundation. This is a celebration of mentorship and friendship; many years in the making.
Images were printed by BowHaus using True Black and White™, an archival pigment ink printing process.
J: You don't get an idea of how large the building is. It's a huge municipal building, very austere, and to see these posters up there when we arrived, for me, was really fantastic.
M: Like twice as big as life-size, or something.
G: Twenty feet tall, at least, each poster.
J: Yeah, and the thing is, when you take this S-Bahn, which is the above ground subway, the train goes right across it. You can see the tracks, and so when you're in the car, you see it as you drive by. And it's just a wonderful experience to see these huge posters on the side of the building.
G: There is a great story about this building. This was an officers' club in World War I, for the German Army. And when Helmut came back to Berlin, he was looking for a home for all his work, and I guess the mayor was showing him all these buildings. They came by this building, it was completely vacant, he turned around and saw the train station, and he says, " I'm home," because he had to leave Germany when he was thirteen to escape the Nazis, and the train station he left from was right here.
G: This is the grand entrance. You walk up these stairs in the museum and you have these massive, uh, large . . . what is this series?
J: " Big Nudes."
G: " Big Nudes," I mean these prints are what? Like twelve feet tall? They're massive.
J: They're bigger than life-size.
G: Yeah, they are bigger than life-size.
J: Where those images of Helmut are, I guess, behind them, there were actually portraits of the army generals..there were individual portraits exactly where those were, they just replaced them with Helmut's portraits.
G: Hanging of the show with Dr. Matthias Harder and Gerti. It took hours to try to like, figure out the order. We were trying to make sense of it and finally we just kind of let the two guys that hung the show just kind of do it, because that's what they did all the time. They were geniuses, and they did a great job.
J: The hanging was so professional. In this image, you can get an idea for the interior of the museum. The way it's been all designed, the floors and the walls are just, just wonderful. And the people that are working there are just the highest quality.
G: That's Just behind with the video camera, and June had come in, and she just said, " This is fantastic!" Yeah, she was just blown away by the BowHaus prints. She couldn't believe that they were not silver prints. She kept going, " Oh, these are digital?" She goes, " This is better than anything I can imagine."
Yeah, what did she say?
J: " The prints are marvelous. The prints are just fantastic."
G: Yeah, and she said, " This is how the show should look. This is a show."
M: It was an incredibly intense moment. You know, like, waiting to see you know what June would say. I mean, we were really excited, but nervous, and it was an amazing moment.
G: Yeah. This is Mark, and June looking at our memorabilia for the first time. She was just loving it. She had never seen any of this put together, or how we did it.
J: -And we were really quite scared at this point because these are very personal items that Helmut had given like, bits and pieces to all of us, we had some original Polaroid's, andÉso we were afraid that if she would get upset by us having some of this very personal stuff.
J: And, too, the collaboration with BowHaus there really came together. And we spent a long time trying to figure out the prints, how and who should do them.
At that moment, we just really realized we'd made the right decision, and everything came together.
J: This is at the dinner, and actually, every dinner that you go to with June is an adventure. You don't know what's going to happen. She is absolutely the Master of Ceremonies. She is the one that controls the tone, and the pacing of the entire dinner. And as the dinner goes on, and more wine is consumed, it gets more and more interesting, more and more intense, more theatrical, and almost confrontational -while everybody else is watching, okay.
J: (Laughter) Now, George's posture here and his look is one of, I think underneath there's a little bit of terror, but he's doing a very good job of keeping a very good face on. She's basically pointing to George and telling him he's " the one" . Right? (As June) " You're the one, George. You're the one." And George is sitting there. You want to say anything else, Mark?
M: Yeah, she goes " Mark, you're nothing!" (Laughter) " George is 'the one'!"
J: Yeah, Mark with the Casanova. Yeah. I don't know what she labeled me as.
G: But you were " the one" the next night.
J: I was " the one" the next night.
G: Yeah, so it did. . .
J: It changed!
M: If there was only one more night, I might've been " the one."
J: You could've been the one the third night!
G: There's June and her entourage walking down the street. She was always surrounded by men, lots of men.
J: She loves men. She loves to be surrounded by all men.
G: All ages!
J: I think those pictures really show how June connects with certain people that are really close to her. I mean, these hugs are really genuine hugs, these aren't just " Oh, hi," and she's like that. Once you sort of get close to her, you're almost a family. You know, I think also -I'll say it- since Helmut has gone, she likes to have people fill that void, you know? Friends that are close to her, and that she can trust, rely on, and confide in.
J: The whole idea behind this show was that the Sumo book which was this large, very expensive book, I think it sold for $1500 originally, and now it's for, I think it's selling for maybe $10 or $20 thousand. It's really out of the price range for most people, so Benedict Taschen decided to do a smaller version, which sold for $100 Euro, which is about $150.
G: These prints behind, and the whole show, are actual -they took apart two Sumo books, which they used for the actual entire show.
J: Yeah, the prints were done, and they were such good quality that they could be used as exhibition prints.
M: It's just an honor that June would let us come and pose next to Sumo. I mean, I just almost didn't feel like I deserved it, but it was really sweet of her to want to pose with us and everything. So it was really nice.
J: The lighting that's in the Foundation, it's a very diffused and even light everywhere in the Foundation. There are no spotlights, there's no lights telling you where to look or, you know . . .
G: Well, it's fluorescent, actually. It's not daylight.
J: Yeah, it's extremely even and very sort of pleasing light.
J: There were over a thousand people that came, for the public opening.
G: There's the Three Boys. We clean up pretty good.
G: I wish I was a fly on the wall here, and I could hear what they were saying. These are two of the, probably the biggest gallery guys in the world. This isÉ
J: That's Caratch, but what's his first name?
G: Andreas Caratch and . . .
G: Tim Jeffries, Tim Jeffries and Caratch,
J: Looking at George's work.
J: The possibility of getting those two guys to stand in front of your work is just very difficult.
J: This is a very, yeah, edgy, German girl.
G: She didn't have a piece of paper!
J: We didn't, George didn't have a piece of paper, so she held out her arm, and said, " Autograph my arm!"
J: When Helmut was a young man, this is where he worked. This is one of his first places of work, where he worked for the famous; I suppose she was famous, fashion photographer, Yva. This was her studio, and now it's been turned into a hotel called Hotel Bogota, and this is where we stayed. So, it was like a homecoming, it had a lot of history there. This staircase actually appears in a lot of Yva's photographs, in her fashion photographs. You see the railing and the detail work of this staircase, and so it ties in. So, it was really wonderful for us to have all this history and to come back to the place where Helmut worked as a young man being an apprentice to Yva.
J: I think what this is, it's not only a celebration of mentorship, it's continuing. And I think that's what June sort of planted here. She planted this excitement and this opportunity she gave to us to almost continue this.
G: She said, " This show should have legs."
J: " This show should have legs." And right now we're in the process of having it come to Paris, we're in talks with a wonderful gallery in Paris. Of course BowHaus will be doing all the prints for that. And we just finished discussing with a wonderful space here in Los Angeles.
G: Yeah, which could mean a number of very large prints.
J: Yeah, larger than life-size. So, my summation would be that, this does have life. And this is the continuation of a great friendship, and more photography. It's about photography and we're all very committed to it, and carrying on this legacy.