“Visual intelligence consists in transforming observation into emotion.” - Christer Strömholm
“In 1958, Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm, then aged forty, dropped his bags off at a scruffy hotel on the Place Blanche in Paris, where the clientele basically consisted of transsexuals. Adopting the nightlife of his fellow guests, he managed to share their intimate moments, coming to photograph their kisses, their embraces, the radiant light of their faces, the slender sootiness of their false eyebrows, their weary bodies in the small hours. Over a period of days and months, Strömholm produced a captivating reportage in which the documentary and the lyrical glow side by side. He completed the project in 1968.
There’s nothing voyeuristic about the hot images he took, but rather a fluid, moving, carnal narrative tied to the intimacy that he shared with his subjects. As he would say all his life, “Visual intelligence consists in transforming observation into emotion.” With these images, Strömholm invented a new form of reportage, which yokes the oneiric trembling of a Robert Frank together with the surrealistic sharpness of a Brassaï, who also happened to be a friend of his.
Although a marginal figure in the 1950s, Christer Strömholm has now become a legend of 20th century photography. He died in 2002, at the age of 83, but continues to inspire many photographers.”