This photograph is from the Helmut Newton "Big Nude" series circa shot in Paris 1979/1980. I have always loved this foto and had it framed, resting on the narrow yet mercifully unelaborated mantelpiece of the flat I rented in Peckham, South London during the early to mid 1980s.
That period was a time of economic depression, tidal waves of protest, political and social upheaval together with an upturn in footwear radicalism. The fact is: a depression era often leads to buoyant artistic creativity. The view from the kitchen window is often partially blocked by the top-knot of a sovereign-ringed slum mum, negotiating a crack deal - but the radio is lively.
I like the strength, the defiance and the bravura of the model in this foto. Regard the stance: one could almost mistake her for a transexual, which is natural because transexuals never undergo the rigours and the trauma of gender reassignment in order to simply become laundromat attendants or bus drivers for the partially-limbed. Neither are they happy with anything less than a 5-inch heel. They are, for the most part, Über-women. All of Helmut Newton's models are 'über-women': iconic and unobtainable, or might be obtainable if you can penetrate that professional, highly plastic veneer of gloss.
For me this photograph symbolises a beautiful and potent image of a person who seems to know exactly who they are (unlike many western heterosexual males who inhabit a sexual dystopia), where they stand (literally and metaphorically) in the world, and whom is probably un-reprogrammable and quite unyielding in their natural essence.
Simply, it represents Power.