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“Isn’t it wonderful that foreign places always look the way you imagine them,” Helmut Newton said one night while walking through a livestock barn at the Travis County Stock Show. “You go to Tahiti, and it looks just like a Gauguin. You go to Texas, and it’s a scene from Dallas or Giant.”
For Newton, a European who has captured the public imagination by translating private, often dark fantasies into compelling photographs, Texas meant power—tycoons, people who were larger than life. He had photographed royalty, the rich, the famous, and some of the most beautiful women in the world. He had shocked the worlds of fashion, art, and photography when he published photos of fashion models coming down the runway, first dressed, then nude. Personally a charming, cultivated man, he brought the kink of sadomasochism to fashion photography and made pictures that were art. But nothing struck Newton as more exotic than Texas, and nothing was more romantic than the Texas millionaire.