Shooting star: The extraordinary unseen photographs of Paul Newman

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Next week, an extraordinary series of unseen photographs will be unveiled to mark the first anniversary of the death of Paul Newman. Carola Long is granted an exclusive sneak preview

Nowadays, the most prominent images of Hollywood stars tend to be split between two extremes.

At one end of the glamour spectrum, there is the manicured gloss of the red carpet; at the other, the "candid" (or snatched) paparazzi shot of actors doing something as painfully banal as loading shopping into their Jeeps. Both types of image are often charged with a sense of desperation, whether it's on the part of the star (to avoid the dreaded worst-dressed list) or derived from our own collective craving to believe that this celebrity revealed in all his or her tracksuit-clad normality is really just like one of us.

In contrast, a new exhibition of rare, unpublished and unseen photos of Paul Newman – which opens in London on Thursday, almost a year after his death – invites the viewer to engage in a calmer form of admiration. To feel as if we are seated at the edge of that Hollywood swimming pool (see page 19), legs dangled and refreshed in the chilled water, while drinking in the cool curve created by Newman's handstand on the diving board. To stare in a way that, even if we'd had access to this Sixties scene, would have verged on the impolite.

The mood of the pictures – shot during the filming of Exodus in 1960, when Newman was at the height of his powers – is of a comfortable intimacy. We feel welcome. That's partly because the photographer Leo Fuchs was invited on to the set. He was a freelancer during the Fifties and Sixties, and one of the few outsiders allowed on to movie sets to befriend the actors and take candid shots, both during and after the actual shooting. His agent then arranged for the photographs to appear in magazines such as Look, Life and Paris Match.

Born in Vienna in 1929 to a family of pastry chefs, Fuchs, who died earlier this year, had emigrated to New York with his family in 1939. He sold his first picture – of Eleanor Roosevelt visiting Brooklyn – to The Day, a Jewish newspaper read by his father, for $5. He left school at 14 to become an apprentice at the Globe Photos agency, and then two years later began taking pictures of celebrities partying in the Big Apple. After military service as a cameraman in the Signal Corps, his first gig as a stills photographer for the movies came in 1954 on Magic Fire, a Wagner biopic. Ten years later, he quit photography when the Universal Studios president Edward Muhl persuaded him to cross over to become a producer himself – but in the intervening decade he captured most of the stars of the day. He worked with Rock Hudson (who was responsible for Fuchs coming to Hollywood in the first place), Gregory Peck (who became godfather to his son, Alexandre), Sean Connery, Shirley MacLaine, Cary Grant and Marlon Brando. He made bets with Sinatra at the casino in Monte Carlo, whiled away evenings listening to Beethoven in the Congo with Audrey Hepburn, and befriended Gina Lollobrigida and Newman.

The natural, intimate quality of his photographs of Newman is also down to Fuchs' particular talent for making stars feel at ease. "It's a sense of trust," says his son Alexandre, who is also a photographer and who found the photos in storage around 10 years ago – many of them on negative strips that hadn't seen the light of day for 30 years. "My father had a gregarious personality and he made friends easily," he continues. "That was his particular skill. He almost always had a close relationship with the people he photographed." Fuchs also showed his subjects the photos before they were published – they might look candid, but they were fully approved.

Many of the shots taken for Exodus, Otto Preminger's 1960 epic about the founding of the state of Israel, were shot on location, though the interior scenes were filmed in Hollywood. However, other pictures of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, to whom he was married for 50 years, were shot at their home in Paris. The image of Newman walking his dogs on a deserted Parisian street (overleaf) is remarkable for the emptiness of the scene, and the rare anonymity it gives the Hollywood star standing within it.

"We tend to be nostalgic about our past and these photos were taken at a particular time when the myth of the celebrity – and that of the paparazzi – were both growing," says Alexandre Fuchs. "People wanted to have a relationship with these celebrities, but at that time there weren't many photos that drew people into their lives. Now, publicity images feel very packaged, but then, they had this sense of innocence."

Compared to the studio portraits of Hollywood's golden age, Fuchs' pictures – like that of Newman and Woodward reclining in deckchairs – feel less self-conscious, and a whole lot cooler. Back in the Thirties and Forties, stars would pose for contrived, camp or melodramatic pictures that required lighting, make-up and props (such as the pistols with which Humphrey Bogart posed to make him appear more macho). Here, however, Newman's natural masculinity is conveyed by his strong, physically perfect body and statuesque features. He even manages to appear manly while playing table tennis. The images underline our image of the actor not only as a beautiful man, whose sculpted nose and jaw were balanced by the hint of softness in his defined lips and those swimming-pool-blue eyes, but also as a latter-day Renaissance figure.

Newman's six-decade career encompassed great performances in films such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1958, The Hustler in 1961 and The Color of Money in 1986, for which he finally won an Oscar; but also included film production and direction, political activism, philanthropy and professional car-racing. Newman said he was happiest in a sports car, and the wonderful shot of him sitting at the wheel (page 12) shows him looking relaxed and lost in thought, with no suggestion that he is necessarily about to drive anywhere.

This sense of calm wasn't just a photographic illusion, however. When Fuchs was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times in 2001, he recalled Newman's desire for harmony on the set of Exodus: "Paul had it in his contract that Otto Preminger couldn't shout at him." And just as Newman avoided on-set drama, Fuchs eschewed flashy theatrics in his photos. Instead, these portraits of a cinematic legend embody a quieter kind of myth-making.

© Leo Fuchs/ leofuchs.com. 'Remembering Paul Newman' is showing at Proud Camden South Gallery, London NW1 , from Thursday to 23 October. See proud.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies