Swiss Photographer Michel Comte’s Most Famous Series

Represented by Editions Comte, the photographers images helped define an era.

Michel Comte. Courtesy of Editions Comte, Paris.

Swiss-born photographer Michel Comte (b. 1954) is world renowned for his multi-decade career in which he has captured some of the most iconic faces and fashions for publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Interview, just to name a few. Some of his earliest work can be traced to 1978, when Comte took some of his first fashion photographs in Andy Warhol’s Paris apartment. In 1980, his work appeared in Vogue France, heralding the photographers true arrival on to the fashion scene.

Director Sophia Coppola wearing a red dress laying sexily in a bathtub with some water and bubbles surrounded by somewhat grubby pink tile.

Michel Comte, Save Safe Sex Campaign, Sophia Coppola (#7875) (1993). Courtesy of Editions Comte.

Much of Comte’s most widely recognized work is dated from the 1990s, including a portrait of supermodel Veruschka with a snake. One of his most famous series, dated to 1994, was his “Save Safe Sex Campaign.” Produced in the midst of the AIDS crisis, images from the series feature celebrities and models such as Caral Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, and Tina Turner. The series garnered worldwide attention, and helped generate more than $1 million in donations.

Black and white photo of the nude supermodel covering her breasts with her hands leaping in midair.

Michel Comte, Save Safe Sex Campaign, Helena Christensen II (#3363) (1993). Courtesy of Editions Comte.

Speaking to Max Magazine the year it was made, Comte said, “In the 1990s, everything to do with sex became a big question mark for fear and insecurity. Besides, I have many homosexual friends for whom life has become difficult. With this project, I want to show that even people who have to live with AIDs don’t have to live without love and sexuality, that they can still have fun.”

A blonde woman topless wearing snakeskin pants walking in the dessert with a giraffe set behind her.

Michel Comte, Beauty and the Beast (#10955) (1996). Courtesy of Editions Comte.

Another of his acclaimed projects was also from this period, the “Beauty and the Beast” series created in 1996. Set in California’s Mojave Desert, animals from a local zoo that were of an endangered species were photographed along with a topless model. The result was a collection of striking images that not only highlight Comte’s creative vision, but also capture the zeitgeist and aesthetics of an era.

A group of nine glamorously dressed supermodels on and around a table in an antique french room.

Michel Comte, Supermodels (#10955) (1997). Courtesy of Editions Comte.

Today, Comte’s photography oeuvre from the late 1980s to 2007 is represented by Editions Comte, reflecting approximately 500,000 negatives and vintage prints that portray some of the most influential personages of the time. Offering books, limited editions, and more by Comte, the platform brings his work—both new and historic—to both his long-time followers as well as new generations of enthusiasts.

Learn more about Michel Comte with Editions Comte.

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