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Christian Coigny is a well-established Swiss photographer. He studied at the Ecole de Photographie in Vevey. His photography has been featured in several books and exhibited in galleries all over the world. Straddling the boundaries between artistic and commercial photography, he has also designed ads for Pirelli, Panasonic, Mercedes and Baume and Mercier.

If Vermeer is known as the painter of women, so Coigny should be known as the photographer of women. It takes much more than just capturing their image to depict women with a sense of intimacy, mystery and respect. Much of figure painting and photography focuses on women. Yet Vermeer stands alone in being able to convey the feminine world with a simplicity, elegance and understatement that makes him a master of this genre. Simple actions—such as pouring a glass of milk or looking at the potential viewer—render every one of his images of milk maids, servants, and country girls more complex than the most intricate portraits of aristocratic women dressed in full regalia.

Coigny has the talent of bringing out such human complexity out of simple, almost stark portraits of women. Some of his pictures, like Vermeer’s, resemble still-life paintings: a woman posing on a table, next to a vase, facing a wall whose every little nook and cranny is visible. The arrangement of the female form complementing the vase could reduce the woman to the status of object.

Yet under Coigny’s touch, just the opposite happens. The young woman’s pose, the play of light and shadow, the lift of her arm, the way in which she holds her head in contemplation, all suggest thought, depth and understated emotion. Coigny’s “Women Studio Series” invite us to rediscover the beauty and complexity of women.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

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