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Bettina Rheims’ (*1952 in Neuilly-sur-Seine) photography career began in the late 1970s following a short work experience as model, at which she consequently became interested in focussing on femininity and all its erotic and voyeuristic facets. Amongst collaborations with prestigious fashion magazines and advertising agencies – for which she photographed Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer – she also published several photo books such as »Female Trouble« (1991) and »Chambre Close« (1992). With the series »Modern Lovers« and the book project »Kim«, which was created in close cooperation with the transsexual Kim Harlow, she developed an interest in artistically examining the subject of transsexuality and transgender. With her project »Modern Lovers« she refers to the play with androgyny. Rheims is convinced that every person carries both a female and a male side.
The series »Gender Studies« promotes acceptance for the transgender and shows in her portraits of models like the Australian Andrej Pejic that sexual flexibility supports the expression of ones individual identity. Her hometown Paris awarded Rheims the 1994 Grand Prix de la Photographie, a recognition for the visual discussion of project issues like sexual orientation, but also for her erotic electrifying production of the female body. The impressive work of Bettina Rheims has been shown at international exhibitions, including but not limited to Helsinki, Moscow, Hong Kong, London and Berlin.
The artist works and resides in Paris.
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