Christer Strömholm


“Working with photographic imagery is for me a way of living. When I think about and look closely at my pictures, they are all in their special way nothing other than a self-portrait; a part of my life.” – Christer Strömholm, 1983.

Christer Strömholm (*1918 – 2002, born in Stockholm, SE) started studying painting in the 1940s with Isaac Grünewald and Otte Sköld. After the end of World War II, Strömholm moved to Paris and it was here that he discovered that photography was the form of expression he was looking for. It was in Paris that he later became familiar with the transsexuals from the area around Place Blanche. Strömholm’s photographic series about them, The Friends of Place Blanche (1959-1968) is considered to be his most ground-breaking. The birds of the night, as the transsexuals were called, came to be Strömholm’s close friends. The pictures are a personal account of their lives and they highlight the right to private life and identity.

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 impressive 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-1950s. For six years he kept returning and taking photos that indicate 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.

Strömholm worked almost exclusively with black and white photography and with the recurring themes of death, life, the private, and friends. His photographs can be divided thematically into images of death (1954-1964), private pictures (1974-1982), signs and traces (1982-1993), and Golgata (1993-1996). In the later years of his work, Strömholm’s images become more like collages, where he assembles found objects and works with Polaroid film. The pictures are more abstract and resemble still-life images. With the starting point as the image rather than the technique, Strömholm changed both the perspective of and the relationship to the photograph within Swedish photography. Using this approach, the photographer would emphasize the subjective in the photograph and highlight oneself as part of the picture.

Christer Strömholm in 1982 by Dawid


Place Blance

Christer Strömholm, Marie, France, 1966, Place Blanche
Christer Strömholm, Gina & Nana, 1963, Place Blanche
Christer Strömholm, Soraya "La Grecque", 1966, Place Blanche


Christer Strömholm, Foire de Pigalle, Paris, 1955
Christer Strömholm, Clignancourt, Paris late 50´s, Paris
Christer Strömholm, Pigalle, Paris, 1954, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery Berlin, 2022, group exhibition


Christer Strömholm, Barrio Chino - Barcelona, 1959
Christer Strömholm, Barrio Chino - Barcelona, 1959, Spain


Christer Strömholm, Tokyo, 1961, Japan
Christer Strömholm, The blind girl, Hiroshima,1961, Japan
Christer Strömholm, Hiroshima, 1963, Japan


Solo Exhibitions (selected)


Les amies de Place Blanche, Sotheby’s Stockholm, SE and Paris, FR

Les amies de Place Blanche, Galerie Dityvon, Angers, FR


POST SCRIPTUM – CHR 100 ÅR, Ljungbergsmuseet, Ljungby, SE


POST SCRIPTUM, Blomqvist Kunsthandel, Oslo, NO


Masonite vintage, Pace/MacGill, New York, US


La tentacion de existir / The temptation to exist, Fotocolectania, Barcelona, ES


Ett sätt att leva ( A way to live), Moderna Museet Malmö, Malmö, SE

CHR – POST SCRIPTUM, Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg, SE



CHR – Post Striptum, Dunkers Kulturhus, Lund, SE

CHR – Post Striptum, Strandverket Marstrand, SE

CHR – Post Striptum, c/o Berlin, DE

Resa i Svartvitt, Galleri Persson in Malmö, SE


Place Blanche, ICP New York, US

CHR – Post Striptum, Fotografiska, Stockholm, SE

Les Amies de Place Blanche, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery – Swedish Photography, Berlin, DE


Barndjävlar, Nordic Light Photo Festival, Kristiansund, NO

On Verra Bien, Länsmuseet Halmstad, SE

Icons of Photography – Karin & Lars Hall Collection, Statoil office, Oslo, NO


RÉSILIENCES, Galerie VU, Paris, FR

On Verra Bien, Foto Art Festival, Bielsko Biala, PL

DARKSIDE II, Museum Winterthur, CH


Privat område, Abecita Corsettfabrik together with Anders Petersen, JH Engström o Eva Klasson, Borås, SE


Revir, Galleri London, Uppsala, SE

Traces du Sacré, Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR

DARKSIDE I, Fotomuseum Winterthur, CH


On Verra Bien, Galerie Forum West, Innsbruck, AT

Lägg märke till det osynliga, Galleri Kontrast, Stockholm, SE

Enfants Terribles, Galleri Final, Malmö, SE

Några nya bilder, Galleri Mårtenson & Persson, Stockholm, SE


Jeu de Paume, Paris, FR

Kicken Gallery, Berlin, DE

Galleri Final, Häckeberga Slott, Skåne, SE

VU 20 ans, Paris, FR

Moderna Museet c/o Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg, SE

Closed Eyes, Brandts Museum, Odense, DK

In the Face of History, Barbican Centre, London, UK


Galerie VU, Rencontres d´Arles, FR

Box Galerie, Bryssel, BE

Galerie Clairefontaine, LU

Strömholm, Arbus, Model, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE


On verra bien, Stenersen Museum, Oslo, NO

On verra bien, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, FI

On verra bien, Karlskrona Konsthall, SE


On verra bien, Malmö Konsthall, SE

On verra bien, Arbetets Museum, Norrköping, SE

Christer & Joakim Strömholm, Fox-Amphoux, FR


Christer Strömholm 1918-2002 / On verra bien, Färgfabriken, Stockholm, SE

On verra bien, Konstcentrum, Gävle, SE

On verra bien, Malmö Konsthall, SE


Christer Strömholm – Classics, Ystad konstmuseum, Ystad, SE

368 förälskelser. Karin och Lars Hall collection, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, SE


Nueve segundos de mi vida, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, AR


Golgata, Lunds domkyrka, Lund, SE

Nueve segundos de mi vida, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, MX


Memento Metropolis, Kulturfabriken, Stockholm, SE


Christer Strömholm. Fotografien 1940-1963, Galerie Rudolf Kicken, Köln, DE

L´art d´y être (Konsten att vara där), Centre Culturel Suédois, Paris, FR


Christer Strömholm. Fotografien 1930-1990, Fotoporto-Photography Biennial, Oporto, PT


9 sekunder av mitt liv, fotografier 1939-86, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE


Privata Bilder II, Camera Obscura, Stockholm, SE


Christer Strömholm. Fotografien um 1950, Museum Folkwang, Essen, DE


Icke önskvärda bilder, Camera Obscura, Stockholm, SE


Dödsbilder, Galleri Observatorium, Stockholm, SE


Till minnet av mig själv, NK theatre, Stockholm, SE


Bomben – Bilder från Hiroshima, Galleri Ekström, Stockholm, SE


Grafiska kollektioner, Gallerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, FR

The World Exhibition of Photography, Luzern, CH

Group Exhibitions (selected)


Entangled, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, DE


STHLM Forever, Fotografiska, Stockholm, SE

L´histoire d´après, Galerie Filles du Calvaire, Paris, FR

Eyes wild open, Botanique, Brussels, BE

In Dialogue with Strömholm, Dorothée Nilsson Gallery, Berlin, DE


André Lhote, Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, SE


AUGEN AUF -100 Years of Leica Photography, Munich, DE


AUGEN AUF -100 Years of Leica Photography,

Fotoforum, Frankfurt am Main”AUGEN AUF -100 Years of Leica Photography”


AUGEN AUF – 100 Years of Leica Photography, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, DE


Bohèmes, Grand Palais, Paris, FR

Cheveux Cheris, Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, FR


City Diaries, Marvelly Gallery, New York, US


Peter Weiss, Museum Bochum, DE


Under/Exposed, Stockholm Subway, SE


Post Scriptum, 2012, Max Ström

Les Amies de Place Blanche, 2011, Aman Iman

Poste Restante, 2006, Steidl

Christer Strömholm, 2006, Actes Sud

On Verra Bien, 2002, Färgfabriken, Stockholm

Nueve segundos de mi vida, 2000, Concalcuta

Imprints, 1998, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg

Awards, Grants and Residencies


The Hasselblad Award, SE


Professor in Photography, SE


Stora Fotografpriset, SE


Agfa-Gevaert stipendium, DE