Self-taught Swiss photographer Michel Comte
is no stranger to models and celebrities, especially if they happen to be female. In crisp black-and-white or lush color pictures, he has captured the likes of Gisele Bündchen, Whitney Houston, Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford, and Isabella Rossellini, often semi-nude and at the height of their elegance and sensuality. When not photographing famous women, he turns his lens on famous men; his sitters have included Mike Tyson, Iggy Pop, and Miles Davis. He has also worked on fashion and advertising campaigns for the world’s top luxury brands and publications, and documented strife-ridden regions in countries like Tibet, Iraq, and Bosnia.
While his subject matter is wide-ranging, though, Comte always returns to beautiful women. In one black-and-white photograph taken in 1990, he tightly frames German model Veruschka in profile, her smooth, white visage contrasting with the pitch-black background and dark clothing covering her head and neck, as well as the gorgeously patterned scales of the snake that covers her nose and eye with its prehistoric head. In contrast to this minimal black-and-white, Comte captured supermodel Cindy Crawford in a highly saturated color photograph in 1992. Bathed in bright sunlight, she engages with the camera in a three-quarters pose, wearing an intricately embroidered bustier and crimson lipstick, her hair a tumble of auburn waves. In another photograph, a young Carla Bruni stands slim and nude against an unadorned gray background, looking elegant, sexy, and sophisticated (if not necessarily like the future wife of a politician)—like all of the women immortalized in Comte’s striking pictures.