A tribute to one of the 20th century’s most influential, intriguing and controversial photographers
SUMO was a titanic book in every respect: it broke records for weight, dimensions, and resale price.
Helmut Newton (1920–2004) always demonstrated a healthy disdain
for easy or predictable solutions. SUMO—a bold and unprecedented
publishing venture—was an irresistible project. The idea of a
spectacular compendium of images, a book with the dimensions of a
private exhibition, reproduced to exceptional page size and to
state-of-the-art origination and printing standards, emerged from an
open, exploratory dialogue between photographer and publisher.
With the physically commanding SUMO weighing in—boxed and shrink-wrapped—at 35.4 kilos, Newton created a landmark book
that stood head and shoulders above anything previously attempted, both
in terms of conceptual extravagance and technical specifications.
Published in an edition of 10,000 signed and numbered copies, SUMO sold
out soon after publication and quickly multiplied its value. This
worldwide publishing sensation now features in numerous important
collections around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Legendary SUMO copy number one, autographed by over 100 of the book’s
featured celebrities, also broke the record for the most expensive book published in the 20th century, selling at auction in Berlin on April 6, 2000 for 620,000 German Marks – approximately 0,000.
SUMO established new standards for the art monograph genre, and secured a prominent place in photo-book history.
This new edition, carefully revised by June Newton, is the fulfillment
of an ambition conceived some years ago by Helmut Newton. He would
surely be pleased that, a decade on from its first publication, SUMO—now
in a format that allows for a more democratic distribution—will reach
the widest possible audience.