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(Credit: Bettina Rheims, Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris)

Art

Exploring the erotic photography of Bettina Rheims in Olga

@TomTaylorFO

Bettina Rheims’ career kickstarted back in 1978, when she took a series of photos of a group of strippers and acrobats, launching herself as a daring new eye in the photography world. Eroticism traditionally held a male gaze but Rheims entered into it and her lens didn’t flinch offering up a new take on intimacy. 

Since then, she has braced all the slings and arrows flung her way as she boldly goes where her lens leads her even if it does attract controversy. Her view, however, was that art is art and if happens to be bipartisan then so be it. “I have always believed that whether the work is my idea or a commission, it is personal work,” she once said. “In the end, as my old master Helmut Newton used to say, there are only two kinds of pictures: the good ones and the bad ones.”

With this mindset, her images have explored the Freudian side of the psyche in a boldly alluring fashion. This takes a defiant sense of artistry and a sense of boldness that has illuminated the way for others. As she once said, “I think that I first started to shoot naked women because I wanted my father to look at my images and father liked very pretty women.”

There is a wry smile to the frank psychology that comes across in the images depicted in her latest Taschen collection The Book of Olga.

The Book of Olga is available to buy here.

The erotic photography of Bettina Rheims in The Book of Olga:

(Credit: Bettina Rheims, Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris)
(Credit: Bettina Rheims, Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris)
(Credit: Bettina Rheims, Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris)
(Credit: Bettina Rheims, Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris)
(Credit: Taschen)