One of my all time favorites. My work is heavily influenced by Helmut Newton. Like Salgado (which I admire but is not a giant influence in my own endeavors), when I think I am doing okay - I revisit some of Newtons vast archive of decades of photography. That sets me strait with how much further I have to grow and I get back to work again.
Helmut Newton is one of the few successful commercial photographers that blended his own vision for his art with a commercial commodity with no compromise. You either wanted Newton for your look or you didn't. If all you see is fantastically sexy women and men in some gorgeous settings that anyone could shoot you are missing Helmut Newton in a big big way. This guy is fantastically unimaginably good.
Take an in depth look at his work. Again, a book is way better than just surfing the web for acouple of his more well known images. They are good but they are not even close to being comprehensive or even representative of is vast body of personal, art, and commercial work. Buy a book or six, schedule yourself a few hours on the weekend with a nice bottle of wine and really take some time so see what is going on with this guy's images. There is of course the initial wow but what makes this guy so so very good is the depth and complexity of his work with such seemingly simple compositions.
I don't think I have seen a Helmut Newton image that does not exude lavishness, decadence, privvy, sexuality, and have at least a subtext of fetishistic polarities - pain, pleasure, want, desire, lust, love, tender, harsh. Amazing.
Holy crap his stuff has me sounding like a blabbering art critic or something. I probably own more Helmut Newton monographs than any other photographer. One of my heros.