Bettina Rheims  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Bettina Rheims (born December 18 1952, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris) is a French artist and photographer. Most recently Rheims has published Héroïnes.


After having been a model, a journalist, and opening an art gallery, she began to be a photographer in 1978 at the age of 26. Initially she did many commissioned works such as albums covers for Jean-Jacques Goldman and photos of various stars.

From 1980 she devoted herself solely to photography. She made a series of photographs of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which were shown 1981 in two personal exhibitions, at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by this success, she worked on a series of stuffed animal portraits, which were exhibited in Paris and New York.

At the same time she took portrait images for worldwide magazines and advertising campaigns (Well and Chanel), created her first fashion series, worked on cover sleeves, and film posters, and in 1986 directed her first advertising campaign.

In 1989 her portraits of women were published in a monograph, Female Trouble, and were exhibited in Germany and Japan. In the following year she made a series of portraits of androgynous teenagers, Modern Lovers, which were shown in France, Great Britain and the United States as well as being issued in book-form.

Her series Chambre Close, which was realized between 1990 and 1992 in collaboration with Serge Bramly, had an immense success not only in Europe but all over the world. The book is a collection of photographs of nude young women in various postures. It became a bestseller and is regularly reprinted.

In the following years her fame began to become worldwide and she is renowned as a one of the most important photographers not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Japan, Korea, Australia and Moscow.

In 1995, she took the official portrait photograph of Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic.

In 1998, she published, with Serge Bramly, I.N.R.I., retracing the life of Jesus in a contemporary settings. Controversial in Christian circles, the book was published simultaneously in several countries (France, Germany, USA and Japan), evoking a scandal in France in particular.

In 2000, she published X’Mas, a series of photographs of young girls discovering their feminity.

In 2003 her book Shanghai, realized together with Serge Bramly, after a 6 months stay in the city, was published by Robert Laffont. The book portrayed the city through the images of women of different backgrounds.

More Trouble was published in 2004 and retraced ten years of her photography, mostly of famous women. At the same time her work was shown in a major retrospective, the first venues for which were Helsinki, Oslo, Vienna, Düsseldorf and Brussels.

In 2007, she published Héroïnes.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bettina Rheims" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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