Michel Comte was born on February 19, 1954 in Zurich, Switzerland. At the age of twelve he was already actively interested in photography, particularly in the works of Man Ray, Weegee and the swiss photographer Gottard Schuh.
He went on to a career in art restoration, working for Pierre Boissons, as well as Bruno Bischofberger and Thomas Amman. That business took him to Paris where during a conversation at a dinner party he was asked to reshoot the latest Ungaro campaign.
His career as a photographer started. After Ungaro and Chloé his work regularly appears in the most important fashion magazines such as Italian and American Vogue, l’Uomo Vogue, Interview, Vanity fair
His commercial clients include Gianfranco Ferré, Giorgio Armani, Dolce &Gabbana, Moschino, Cerruti, Illy Caffè, Pomellato and Trussardi and Céline. He portraits celebrities like Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore Sharon Stone, Robert Altmann, Sting, Sophia Loren and Hillary Clinton, just to mention a few of them.
Despite his success with fashion and advertising photography, Michel Comte has never lost sight of his interest in people, a curiosity that compels him to document human behaviour far beyond the confines of his study.
That desire, and his travels throughout the world, lead to his collaboration with the International Commitee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
At present, Michel Comte lives and works between Zurich, Paris, New York and Los Angeles.
Michel Comte the Classics
Michel Comte is among the most prolific photographers alive, he has worked in almost every genre of photography. The self- taught photographer has worked for almost every major international magazine and was shown in major museums and galleries all over the world. Whether it’s reportage or fashion, he has always remained true to his inimitable signature style.
Some of this photographs are truly memorable, unforgettable even, encapsulating the essence of his approach to photography- is classics in other words. It comes as no surprise that they mostly show women or celebrities, since these are the areas where Michel Comte has developed an unsurpassed mastery.
Taking pictures of celebrities is a tough job. After all, we have seen their faces so many times that we almost start to believe that we know them personally. But Michel Comte has a knack for finding images of celebrities that give you the feeling that you actually see them for the first time. Sometimes he condenses their allure in an almost mythical image – Miles Davis looking like an embalmed Pharaoh or Jeremy Irons like a coldly suave dandy with a monocle. Or he just relies on his ever attentive eye and captures a facial expression that seems to express the soul of the sitter – think of the rapture on Marianne Faithfull’s face or the vulnerability and openness of Geraldine Chaplin.
The same balance of spontaneity and iconic presence characterizes his women. Michel Comte knows how to transform women into goddesses for the media age, timeless and contemporary at the same time.
He celebrates their strength and sexiness without ever turning them into objects. Michel Comte’s classics point to the secret of his work: the sheer delight in human beings, their variety and individuality.
His openness allows him to produce images as unique as the individuals they show. And isn’t this what photography is all about?
Michel Comte on Women
Whether he is photographing the high-gloss glamour of fashion or the atrocities of civil war in Rwanda, whether it’s revealing portraits or breathtaking landscapes – Michel Comte has always remained true to himself.
Born in I953 in Zurich, Switzerland, Comte is a self-taught photographer.
In I978, he began working for international fashion designers.
In I98I, he moved to New York, where he began to work for Vogue and Vanity Fair.
Within just a few years, he became one of the most sought-after fashion and editorial photographers alive.
Besides his commissioned work, Michel Comte has completed a number of highly personal projects, among others on human rights issues.
Michel Comte has exhibited his work in important museums such as the Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.
Throughout his career, there has been one motif Michel Comte has returned to time and again – woman. His portraits of female stars and supermodels are unsurpassed masterpieces.
Empathic and glamorous at once, his photographs capture the essence of the models with an astonishing immediacy.
He reveals their strength and celebrates their beauty in brilliantly composed and deeply felt images.
Michel Comte eschews cheap tricks and thrills and goes straight for that one decisive moment when a woman’s expression and posture reveal her inner self.
It sounds easy, but it takes a master to do it.