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 started studying painting in the 1940s with Isaac Grünewald and Otte Sköld. After the end of the second world war, 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 a 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 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)

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, Christer 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’s (1918-2002) photos have appeared in many published books and been shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is also represented in many international collections. He has received a number of awards, including The Hasselblad Award in 1997.

1918-2002, born in Stockholm, Sweden

EXHIBITIONS (IN SELECTION)

Les amies de Place Blanche, Sotheby’s i Stockholm och Paris, Sweden/ France 2019

Les amies de Place Blanche, Galerie Dityvon, Angers, France, 2019

STHLM Forever, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden, 2018

POST SCRIPTUM – CHR 100 ÅR, Ljungbergsmuseet, Ljungby, Sweden 2018

L´histoire d´après, Galerie Filles du Calvaire, Paris, France 2018

Eyes wild open, Botanique, Brussels, Belgium 2018

Paris Photo – Galerie Filles du Calvaire, Paris, France 2018

POST SCRIPTUM, Blomqvist Kunsthandel, Oslo, Norway 2017

André Lhote, Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, Sweden 2017

Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, AIPAD New York, USA 2016

Pace/MacGill, New York, USA 2016

Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, AIPAD New York, USA 2015

Grundemark Nilsson Gallery, AIPAD New York, USA 2014

CHR – Post Striptum, Dunkers Kulturhus, Lund, Sweden 2013

CHR – Post Striptum, Strandverket Marstrand, Sweden 2013

CHR – Post Striptum, c/o Berlin, Germany 2013

Place Blanche, ICP New York, USA 2012

CHR – Post Striptum, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden 2012

Les Amies de Place Blanche, Grundemark Nilsson Gallery – Swedish Photography, Berlin 2012

Barndjävlar, Nordic Light Photo Festival, Kristiansund, Norway 2011

On Verra Bien, Länsmuseet Halmstad, Sweden 2011

Icons of Photography – Karin & Lars Hall Collection, Statoil office, Oslo, Norway 2011

RÉSILIENCES, Galerie VU, Rencontres d´Arles, France 2010

Marvelly Gallery, together with Anders Petersen, New York, USA 2010

On Verra Bien, FOTO ART FESTIVAL, BIELSKO BIALA, Poland 2009

DARKSIDE II, Museum Winterthur, Switzerland 2009

Privat område, Abecita Corsettfabrik together with Anders Petersen, JH Engström o Eva Klasson, Borås, Sweden 2009

Revir, Galleri London, Uppsala, Sweden 2008

Traces du Sacré, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France 2008

DARKSIDE I, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland 2008

On verra bien, Galerie Forum West, Innsbruck, Austria 2007

Lägg märke till det osynliga, Galleri Kontrast, Stockholm, Sweden 2007

Enfants Terribles, Galleri Final, Malmö, Sweden 2007

Några nya bilder, Galleri Mårtenson & Persson, Stockholm, Sweden 2007

Jeu de Paume, Paris, France 2006

Kicken Gallery, Berlin, Germany 2006

Galleri Final, Häckeberga Slott, Skåne, Sweden 2006

VU 20 ans, Paris, France 2006

Moderna Museet c/o Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg, Sweden 2006

Closed Eyes, Brandts Museum, Odense, Denmark 2006

In the Face of History, Barbican Centre, London, England 2006

Peter Weiss, Museum Bochum, Germany 2006

Paris Photo – Galerie VU, Paris, France 2006

Galerie VU, Rencontres d´Arles, France 2005

Box Galerie, Bryssel, Belgium 2005

Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxemburg 2005

Strömholm, Arbus, Model, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden 2005

Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway 2004

The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland 2004

On verra bien, Karlskrona Konsthall, Sweden 2004

On verra bien, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden 2003

On verra bien, Arbetets Museum, Norrköping, Sweden 2003

Willy Brandt Haus, Berlin, Germany 2003

Galleri Mårtensson & Persson, Båstad, Sweden 2003

Christer & Joakim Strömholm, Fox-Amphoux, France 2003

Galleri M, Bochum, Germany 2003

Forum für Fotografie, Köln, Germany 2003

Christer Strömholm 1918-2002. On verra bien, Färgfabriken, Stockholm , Sweden 2002

On verra bien, Konstcentrum, Gävle, Sweden 2002

On verra bien, Malmö Konsthall, Sweden 2002

Centre Cultural de la Fundació la Caixa. Lleida, Spain 2001

Christer Strömholm. Klassiker, Ystad konstmuseum, Ystad, Sweden 2001

368 förälskelser. Karin och Lars Hall collection, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden 2001

Galerie Vu, Paris, France 2001

Nueve segundos de mi vida, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2000

Photographien Rupertinum, Salzburg, Austria 1999

Fotografisk Center, Copenhagen, Denmark 1999

Golgata, Lunds domkyrka, Lund, Sweden 1999

Nueve segundos de mi vida, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico 1999

Museo de Oaxaca, XXVII Festival Cervantino, Mexico 1999

Wonderland Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen, Holland 1999

The Hasselblad Award 1997, Hasselblad Center, Göteborg, Sweden 1998

Under/Exposed, Stockholm Subway, Sweden 1998

Memento Metropolis, Kulturfabriken, Stockholm, Sweden 1998

Höganäs Museum. Höganäs, Sweden 1997

European Cultural Capital 1997, Thessaloniki, Greece 1997

Indicier with Anders Petersen and Kenneth Gustavsson, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden 1996

Christer Strömholm. Fotografien 1940-1963, Galerie Rudolf Kicken, Köln, Germany 1992

L´art d´y être (Konsten att vara där), Centre Culturel Suédois, Paris, France 1992

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

9 sekunder av mitt liv, fotografier 1939-86 Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden 1986

Privata Bilder II, Camera Obscura, Stockholm, Sweden 1982

Christer Strömholm. Fotografien um 1950, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany 1981

Icke önskvärda bilder, Camera Obscura, Stockholm, Sweden 1980

Privata Bilder, Camera Obscura, Stockholm, Sweden 1980

Dödsbilder, Galleri Observatorium, Stockholm, Sweden 1966

Till minnet av mig själv, NK, Stockholm, Sweden 1965

Bomben – Bilder från Hiroshima, Galleri Ekström, Stockholm, Sweden 1962

Grafiska kollektioner, Gallerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, France 1952

The World Exhibition of Photography, Luzern, Switzerland 1952

Switzerland, France, Italy and Holland 1952

The Fotoform Group, Germany, 1951

Unga tecknare, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden 1948

AWARDS
The Hasselblad Award, Sweden 1997

Professor in Photography, Sweden 1993

Stora Fotografpriset, Sweden 1979

Agfa-Gevaert stipendium, Germany 1966

PUBLICATIONS

Les Nuits de Place Blanche, RM Verlag, Spain 2015

Resa i svart/vitt, Ellerströms förlag, Sweden 2013

Post Scriptum, Max Ström 2012

Catalogue TWO – Swedish Photography, Germany 2012

Les Amies de Place Blanche (vol 2), Aman Iman Éditions – Strömholm Estate – Dewi Lewis, 2011

Enfants Terribles, Exhibition catalogue, Galleri Final, Malmö 2007

102 Kloka Ord, 2006

Photo Poche #106, Actes Sud, 2006

Christer Strömholm 1918-2002 On Verra Bien, Exhibition catalogue, Färgfabriken, Stockholm 2002

Christer Strömholm, Exhibition catalogue, La Caixa, Barcelona. 2001

Nueve segundos de mi vida Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City 1999

Imprints, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg 1998

Kloka ord, Legus, Stockholm 1997

Konsten att vara där, Norstedts, Stockholm 1991

Vännerna från Place Blanche, ETC Production, Stockholm 1983

Camera Photomagazine, dedicated to Christer Strömholm, Switzerland, 1980

Poste restante, with text by Tor-Ivan Odulf, Norstedts, Stockholm 1967

Till minnet av mig själv, Nordisk Rotogravyr, Stockholm 1965

Liftare och läckergommar, text by Rune Hassner with illustrations by Christer Christian (Christer Strömholm), Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm 1953