christer strömholm’s beautiful portraits of transsexual prostitutes 1950s – 1960s (31 pics)
Strömholm and His Subjects
Living close to the transgender males for 10 years, Strömholm worked into the early hours as he followed and photographed his subjects. He “shared their early afternoon breakfasts…watched them put on make-up and clothes, went down with them to the streets as they solicited for clients,” said Christian Caujolle, owner of the Vu photography agency in Paris.
“These are images of people whose lives I shared and whom I think I understood,” Strömholm wrote in the foreword of Les amies de Place Blanche in 1983. “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.”
Sean O’Hagan of The Guardian said of the photographs: “The transsexuals of Place Blanche led a hard life of often dogged survival, but in the photographs, one senses a camaraderie – between the girls and between the photographer and his subject – as well as an almost celebratory defiance.
“Gina and Nana pose like glamorous film stars, Martine like an exotic circus performer, and [Jacky] like someone who could just as easily have hung out at Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York in the late 1960s.
“Strömholm offered them total self-expression, and they responded accordingly.”