Born on 18th December 1952, Bettina Rheims is a French photographer and artist. She is the daughter a French novelist, art historian and auctioneer Maurice Rheims. Her sister, Nathalie is a writer, actress and film producer.
In 1978, Rheims started exploring photography after being a journalist and a model. Prior to her being a photographer, she opened an art gallery as well. At first she worked on the commission basis producing covers for musical albums for singers like Jean Jacques Goldman.
After two years, she devoted her time and energy entirely to photography. She captured photographs of acrobats and strip teasers and the work was shown in two exhibitions in 1981 at the Galerie Texbraun and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. These retrospectives encouraged and motivated her to work more and she began working on another project that involved taking portraits of stuffed animals. This series was exhibited in cities like New York and Paris.
Simultaneously, she did portrait photography for promotional campaigns and international magazines; did work on cover sleeves; made film posters; and made her first series of fashion. In 1986, she was the director of her first commercial campaign project.
In 1987, Rheims directed the music video for Desireless‘s song Voyage, voyage from François album that was released in 1986.
In 1989, she made portraits of women that were published in Female Trouble, a monograph. This work was shown in Japan and Germany. The next year, she made portraits of asexual teenager, and the series was entitled Modern Lovers. These pictures were shown in the United States, Great Britain and France. A photo book was also published.
From 1990 until 1992, she worked on Chambre Close, a book containing a series of full and half nude women in several postures, which became known and gained great success all around the world.
In 1994, she was given the Grand Prix de la Photographie award in Paris. A year later, she shot an official photograph of the President of the French Republic – Jacques Chirac.
Three years later, Serge Bramly and Bettina Rheims published a book at once in Japan, USA, Germany and France. It was a controversial piece of work especially in France and among the Christians. The title of the book was I.N.R.I (Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum). Jesus’s story has always been reinterpreted and reinvented for two thousand years. Bramly and Rheims retold the story with pictures suitable for the 20th century using contemporary forms of art. .
Over the years of her professional life, she became renowned for her work in Japan, Australia, Korea, Moscow, United States and urope.
As the millennium began, Bettina Rheims’s published a series of images of young females by the name of X’Mas . After three years, Bramly and Rheims made another book, titled Shanghai. It included photos of women posing in front of various backdrops. In 2004, More Trouble was yet another book by Rheims which retraced her photography’s ten years. During this time, her work was displayed in major exhibitions in Oslo, Brussels, Helsinki, Vienna and Düsseldorf. Three years later, she published Heroines consisting photographs of women showing off the latest Parisian fashion. In 2008, she brought out The Book of Olga on behalf of Sergey Rodionov (millionaire from Russia) that portrayed Olga Rodionov, his wife.
Bettina Rheims has done solo shows in several cities across the world, including Berlin, Milan, New York, London, Sydney, Vienna, Moscow and etc.