French photographer Bettina Rheims questions femininity, fantasies and female sexuality through an imposing body of work, from advertising commercials to museum walls.
An instinctive work, It is both very elaborate and nourished by artistic culture. A free spirit, she borrows as much from the "female gaze" as the male, from Diane Arbus as much as Helmut Newton. Her work won't be locked up: it disturbs.
Whether photographing Charlotte Rampling, Madonna, Naomi Campbell, anonymous prisoners, Femen, (or even Jacques Chirac!) her photographs become iconic.
Modern icons who set up their models as gods (and often as fallen goddesses of Olympus, somewhat the worse for wear).
Ever since Modern Lovers, her pioneering work has approached non-gendered sensualities.
Above all she shows bodies transcended by desire.
At the heart of this special edition, the films My Life, Femen. Naked War and Gender Studies take us into the world of Bettina Rheims. She also returns in an exclusive interview for Darkroom Rumour on her recent projects. Serge Bramly, director of Rose, c’est Paris, writer and photographic specialist revisits Bettina Rheims' founding years.