Helmut Newton was one of the most influential, intriguing, and controversial photographers of all time. “Bold” and “prolific” are understatements when trying to describe the German-Australian’s work in one word. It’s simply not possible and it takes just one look at the unprecedented SUMO to find out why. Breaking records for weight, dimensions and resale price, the titanic book offers tribute to Newton and in so doing secured a prominent place in photo-book history. After much exploratory conversation between Newton and his publisher, Taschen, the end result led to a spectacular array of images reproduced to an exceptional page size and state-of-the-art origination and printing standards. It’s safe to say that the original SUMO was the beholder’s very own private exhibition of Newton’s fierce and compelling works.
Published in an edition of 10,000 signed and numbered copies, SUMO sold out soon after publication and quickly multiplied its value. The first copy of the legendary SUMO was autographed by over 100 of the book’s featured celebrities. Breaking the record for the most expensive book published in the 20th century, it was auctioned off on April 6, 2000 in Berlin for 620,000 German Marks (approximately $413,000 USD). Previously weighing a gargantuan 78 pounds, the latest edition of this monumental book has been cautiously revised by June Newton, Helmut’s model/actress wife, and is now available in a format that can reach the widest possible audience. The new hardcover edition measures at 10.5 x 14.7 in and comes complete with a unique bookstand so proud owners can display it at home. The newest edition retails at a much more reasonable $150 and is now available online. But of course if you’re feeling a bit bold, Taschen also offers a limited edition (10,000 copies available only) 0f SUMO signed and numbered by Helmut himself. The limited edition copy (featured below) measures in at 19.7 x 27.6 in and retails at $15,000. However, proud owners of the new edition won’t wrestle with their copy of SUMO. It comes with a unique engraved stand for displaying the book at home, which can be seen below.