The career of Bettina Rheims (Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1952) begins in 1978, when she meets the strippers in Pigalle and decides to photograph them in a new light. The result is a series that has been displayed in several exhibitions. By that crucial experience she devoted herself to photography, inspired by her passion for art and for the female portrait. Over the years she has continued her personal artistic research in parallel with the work on commission for important brands and magazines.
The ability to capture emotion and power in the eyes of her models by celebrating their naked bodies and their femininity, has made her one of the most important photographers of her time and has led her to work with stars like Madonna, Charlotte Rampling, Catherine Deneuve, Marianne Faithfull, Asia Argento, Kylie Minogue and international models such as Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell.
Rheims in 1995 was chosen to make the official portrait of the French President Jacques Chirac. In 2007 she was awarded the Legion d’Honneur for her artistic achievements.
In the last ten years her work has been exhibited worldwide, from Helsinki to Moscow to Hong Kong and, in collaboration with Taschen, was published in several volumes. Since 1980 Rheims has made many personal projects, some of which in collaboration with the writer Serge Bramly. In each series she has used a different approach to the female body, has experienced a different interaction with the models and a new intimacy in comparing herself to the life of a stranger who turned into art. From her first series Chambre Close to the latest Gender Studies, her artistic research has explored every aspect of society.