A little-known Swedish photographer, Christer Strömholm, visited Paris to experiment with a new style of night-time street photography. He immersed himself in the red-light district of Place Blanche where he beautifully captured through his lens the wide variety of young trans women struggling to make a living.
In 1983, Strömholm published his book, Les Amies de Place Blanche, with the photographs from his visit.
Inside he wrote a powerful introduction:
2. “This is a book about insecurity. A portrayal of those living a different life in the big city of Paris, of people who endured the roughness of the streets.”
4. “This is a book about humiliation, about the smell of whores and night life in cafés.”
6. “This is a book about the quest for self-identity, about the right to live, about the right to own and control one’s own body.”
8. “This is also a book about friendship, an account of the life we lived in the place Blanche and place Pigalle neighborhood. Its market, its boulevard and the small hotels we resided in.”
10. “These are images from another time. A time when de Gaulle was president and France was at war against Algeria.These are images of people whose lives I shared and whom I think I understood.”
12. “These are images of women—biologically born as men—that we call ‘transsexuals.’ As for me, I call them ‘my friends of place Blanche.’ This friendship started here, in the early 60s and it still continues.”
Strömholm would go on to became known as the “father” of Swedish photography. Recently the photographs in Les Amies de Place Blanche were re-released in a new version of the original book, complete with essays and anecdotes.
You can view the full collection here.
H/T: Messy Nessy Chic