Photographs of trans women during Paris’ transgender-outlawed period under Charles de Gaulle to show in NYC exhibition

Photo: Christer Strömholm Estate

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — That’s right, it’s news to me, too. In the late 1950s when General Charles de Gaulle ruled France, police arrested and beat trans women for  being ‘men dressed as women outside the period of carnival’.

That didn’t stop Christer Strömholm from coming to Paris to photograph and document trans women struggling with the oppressive living conditions of the era and their making money for sex change surgery in dehumanizing ways — something still common to many trans people today.

An exhibition of Strömholm’s photographs will be run from May 18th through Sept, 2012 in New York City.

From the International Center of Photography:

Christer Strömholm (1918–2002) was one of the great photographers of the 20th century, but he is little known outside of his native Sweden. This exhibition presents his most powerful and acclaimed body of work: Les Amies de Place Blanche, a documentation of transsexual “ladies of the night” in Paris in the 1960s. Arriving in Paris in the late 1950s, Strömholm settled in Place Blanche in the heart of the city’s red-light district. There, he befriended and photographed young transsexuals struggling to live as women and to raise money for sex-change operations. Strömholm’s surprisingly intimate portraits and lush Brassaï-like night scenes form a magnificent, dark, and at times quite moving photo album, a vibrant tribute to these girls, the “girlfriends of Place Blanche.”

via Christer Strömholm: Les Amies de Place Blanche | International Center of Photography.

International Center of Photography website:

Photo: Christer Strömholm Estate

Photo: Christer Strömholm Estate

Photo: Christer Strömholm Estate


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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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6 replies

  1. Cool. In 1973 I started photographing a bunch of my friends in Hollywood. At first it it was snapshots but I realized how I was part of history that needed documenting. I bought a Nikon and a couple of lenses learned how to shoot in almost no light.
    I don’t think any of my friends from that era survived past the year 2000.
    I should do something with the photographs. A number of them were published in Transsexual New Telegraph in the late 1990s.

  2. Reminiscent of Susan Meiselas’ work.

  3. Right now I’m working on a memoir about coming out in the 1960s. I was a hippie, anti-war and early transsexual activist, I transitioned in the Bay Area and moved to LA so I write about what was going on in those early years.


  1. Openly Breaking The Law In Paris. « Kerry Dwyer

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