Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ICP past exhibitions - Christer Strömholm: Les Amies de Place Blanche

I liked this exhibition because it probes the meaning of gender and gender identity, which I have been interested in for years.  Christer Strömholm was a Swedish photographer who spent ten years living among transgendered "ladies of the night" beginning in the late1950's in Paris. From the ICP PDF press release for the exhibit - "As Strömholm wrote in 1983: 'These are images of people whose lives I shared and whom I think I understood. These are images of women—biologically born as men—that we call "transsexuals." As for me, I call them "my friends of Place Blanche." It was then—and still is—about obtaining the freedom to choose one’s own life and identity.'" The Press release also goes on to say that these women were mistreated by authorities. I see the relevance in today's society where the transgender community is still misunderstood and not accepted by the general public. In Russia and other countries they are abused and arrested. It is getting better but not fast enough. All the photos are from the 1960's in black and white, so they show popular fashion of the time. The subjects seem so glamorous to me. They were so brave to live honestly in that time period. I am especially impressed with the fact that they allowed themselves to be photographed.

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