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)
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
Till minnet av mig själv, NK, Stockholm, Sweden 1965
Dödsbilder, Galleri Observatorium, Stockholm, Sweden 1966
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
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