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Started working in the early 1980’s, Ms Rheims developed a unique relationship with the models which allowed her to capture their strength and fragility. This led her to shoot some of the most famous women in the world: Monica Bellucci, Catherine Deneuve, Marianne Faithfull, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss, Charlotte Rampling, Sharon Stone, and many others. While shooting portraits of celebrities for international magazines, Ms Rheims has also worked on advertising campaigns for fashion and Luxury brands, such as Chanel, Dior, Lancôme or Omega. As a result she divided her time between commissions and personal projects.
More recently, she spent 1 year photographing inmates in prisons for «Détenues» one of her latest series.
A number of institutions have held retrospective exhibitions of her work: Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Moscow House of Photography (2008), C/O in Berlin, FORMA in Milan (2008), Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, Hong Kong City Hall and Fotografiska Museet in Stockholm (2016). Ms Rheims work was also exhibited in many prestigious European galleries.
More than 20 books on her work were published including Female Trouble; Chambre Close, to Modern Lovers, Gender studies . The latest Rose c’est Paris brings together more than 500 photographs taken over the course of her 35 year career, was published by Taschen in 2016. In 2018, Gallimard introduced in the prestigious collection Blanche, the series « Détenues ».
In 1995, Bettina Rheims was commissioned to take the official portrait of Jacques Chirac, President of France. In 2013, she was appointed a Commander of the Legion of Honor France’s highest decoration. In 2016, she was named Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters. In 2018, she was elevated to the rank of First Officer of the French National Order of Merit.
SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY :
• DÉTENUES - artist: Bettina Rheims ; author: Nadeije Laneyrie-Dagen ; introduction: Robert Badinter ; 2018 ; Gallimard ; French
• BETTINA RHEIMS: CO - directed by Patrick Remy ; 2017 Taschen ; multilingual
• GENDER STUDIES - artist: Bettina Rheims ; 2014 ; Steidl Verlag
• ROSE, C’EST PARIS - authors: Bettina Rheims, Serge Bramly and Thierry Grillet ; exhibition catalogue presented at the Bibliothèque nationale de France ; 2010 ; Taschen France ; trilingual edition
• CHAMBRE CLOSE - artist: Bettina Rheims ; author: Serge Bramly ; 2007 ; Schirmer Mosel
• SHANGHAÏ - artist: Bettina Rheims ; author: Serge Bramly ; 2004 ; PowerHouse Books
• FEMALE TROUBLE - artist: Bettina Rheims ; introduction: Catherine Deneuve ; 2002 ; Schirmer Mosel
• I.N.R.I. - artist: Bettina Rheims ; author: Serge Bramly ; 1999 ; The Monacelli Press
• ANIMAL - artist: Bettina Rheims ; author: Serge Bramly ; 1998 ; Gina Kehayoff Verlag
• MODERN LOVERS - artist: Bettina Rheims ; 1998 ; Edition Braus