18 Dec 1952 -
Like many fashion photographers, Bettina Rheims has pursued projects which explore her personal notions of individual beauty, rather than that dictated by magazines and advertising agencies. Rheims began work as a portrait photographer in 1978 and has worked as a fashion and celebrity photographer and photojournalist. The subjects of her first exhibition in 1981 were striptease artists and circus performers – the demi-monde to fashion and modelling’s haute-monde. She learnt much from discussing her work with Helmut Newton, visiting him every Thursday for 3 or 4 years when he lived in Paris.
Rheims made her name throughout the 1980s for her gritty photographs of beautiful women. Whether portraits, fashion or anti fashion, ideas of beauty were often used to turn the spectatorial gaze back on itself. She left stretch marks, signs of aging and bruises on the skin in her pictures adding a toughness to the subject whether famous or unknown. Her books include Female trouble 1989, Modern lovers 1990, Chambre close 1992, and INRI Jesus 1998. She was made a Commander of the French Legion of Honour in 2013.
gelatin silver photograph
47.6 x 47.8 cm image; 60.7 x 50.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated verso, pencil "... September 1985, ... Bettina Rheims".
Gift of Edron Pty Ltd - 1996 through the auspices of Alistair McAlpine
Not on display
Unable to display image due to copyright restrictions