Christer Strömholm

Les Amies de Place Blanche

Christer Strömholm, the doyen of modern Swedish photography and certainly its most influential figure, has influenced generations with his work. He occupies a central position in international photography history and his work has in no small measure contributed to the establishment of photography as an independent art form. Strömholm knew how to capture the character of an individual in his or her persona, however briefly the latter was revealed.

The series in which this succeeded perhaps most impressively is that of his images of Place Blanche in the red light district of Pigalle in Paris, where he began to photograph transvestites and transsexuals in the mid-1950´s. For six years he kept returning and taking photos that indicate a great respect, intimacy and growing familiarity: not a voyeuristic gaze, rather an interest in the figure opposite, whose role play Strömholm also used to question his own viewing practice. “They were questioning their own identity and that was the starting point for my work”. (Christer Strömholm)

Christer Strömholm began to study painting in 1937 at the dresdner Akademie, but soon left for political reasons and went to France, where in Paris he found a second heimat. From 1951-53, he was a member of the group fotoform, led by Otto Steinert, and participated in a number of exhibitions under the pseudonym of Christer Christian. Strömholm’s photos have appeared in many published books and been shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide. he is also represented in many international collections. in 1993 he was made a professor by the Swedish Ministry of Culture. He has received a number of awards, including the Hasselblad Award 1997.