In Paris, the past is present and the legends are sociable. The night in 1981 that I first met June and Helmut Newton, at their place on the Rue de l’Abbé de l’Epée, he and I immediately started arguing. I’d come to discuss a text I was supposed to write for one of his photo books, but the expat-in-Paris atmosphere of culture as pleasure was so familiar that I forgot he was a legend and 30 years my senior. I contested what he’d just said. He shouted. I shouted.
June watched with the unfazed appreciation of an actress at a noisy rehearsal, then booked a table and swept us out to a restaurant, because, as we all knew, dinner is the cornerstone of expat survival. And then we were friends for decades of dinners, collaborations, and fun shouting matches. He was Berlin-blunt, she was Melbourne-blunt, and both were like family to their friends, but ever suspicious of the gatekeepers—the editors, the clients. Our friendship collapsed when I became the gatekeeper of French Vogue, and it sprang back to life after I left.