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Beautiful Photography Collection Captures Transgender Women In 1950s Paris

When Christer Strömholm traveled to Paris in late 1950s, he left with a captivating portrait of the trans women who made a living in the city’s red-light district.

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

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.”

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

4. “This is a book about humiliation, about the smell of whores and night life in cafés.”

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

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.”

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

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.”

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

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.”

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

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.”

© C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / Via messynessychic.com

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.

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Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at sarah.karlan@buzzfeed.com.
 
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