5 Reasons To Love... Helmut Newton

1 Newton's Autobiography (Doubleday, $27.95) recounts how a sickly Jewish boy in war-torn Germany became one of fashion's most narcissistic yet revered photographers.

2 The 82-year-old has a rep for womanizing, but he was a self-confessed ''sissy'' as a boy: ''It didn't help that my mother dressed me like a little girl. I wore velvet suits with high stiff collars and enormous taffeta bows.''

3 He risked life and limb for a great photo, as in 1967 when duplicating a scene from Hitchcock's ''North by Northwest'' for a Vogue shoot (above). Newton directed the pilot to make the lowest approach possible, but the plane nearly crashed when he accidentally gave the wrong signal.

4 His 1976 book, ''White Women,'' raised eyebrows for its title but also helped popularize the term ''porno chic.''

5 Despite adventures escaping Nazis, living as a gigolo in Singapore, and picking peaches in Australia, his focus has always been finding girls to, um, click his shutter: ''You know, I never think of anybody but myself.''

Originally posted Sep 19, 2003 Published in issue #729 Sep 19, 2003 Order article reprints

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