Topshop photo ‘machine’ pulls in crowds
June 11, 2008
Topshop model Kate Moss may have no plans to visit the store?s ?Newton Machine? but shoppers have turned up in droves since it opened in London.
?They have been queuing all day,? said a spokeswoman for the chain, 24 hours after it unveiled the temporary self-portrait service at Topshop?s flagship store in Oxford Street.
The ‘machine’ is named after German-born photographer Helmut Newton who hit the big time as a fashion photographer for French Vogue where he got a full-time job in 1961. He died in 2004 aged 83.
In the early 1970s he allowed his models to adjust the camera?s self-timer mechanism, giving them time to check their pose using a mirror next to the camera. A strobe light was connected to a ?magic box? and, before each exposure, a bell rang and a warning light blinked.
At the time Newton wrote: ?Lately, a new fashion has developed among young fashion photographers – many of them live with their favourite model and only photograph her. Often models are much better at their job than their boyfriends. It shows in the pictures.?
Topshop?s ?re-creation? of The Helmut Newton Photo Machine allows shoppers to release the camera shutter using a remote release.
This version aims to celebrate Newton?s ?wry take? on his ?self-styled, self-shot photography?.
The shoppers? images will be displayed in a gallery within the store and on the topshop.com website. The customer is given an A5-sized print to keep.
Launching the free service yesterday, Topshop said: ?The machine will reach a new generation of fans whose understanding will breathe fresh life into it, bringing the machine into the 21st century. These modern day subjects are not only in control of how their image looks but, also, how and where it is seen.?
The store said it does not expect Kate Moss, who models Topshop clothes, to use the service, adding that in any case she is currently ?out of the country?.
Topshop launched the Helmut Newton Photo Machine in collaboration with the photographer?s agent Tiggy Maconochie who said: ?I knew that this simple yet clever idea would work. It embodies both photography and fashion in an original and effective way. There is no doubt that Helmut Newton continues to be one of the most influential fashion photographers of all time.?
The Helmut Newton Photo Machine will remain at Topshop, Oxford Circus until 15 June after which it is due to visit the Arndale Centre in Manchester and – at the same time – St Stephen?s Street in Dublin (17-22 June).