Based near Lausanne on the shores of Leman Lake, Christian Coigny has for the past 30 years developed a career in traditional black and white photography parallel to his work in publicity and fashion. He works primarily with film.

His work is anchored in a classical education and strongly influenced by American painters such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe and Andrew Wyeth, who he discovered during his 5-year stay in San Francisco. Very rapidly, major brands called him to transpose his personal mark onto their advertising campaigns. The poster advertising campaign for the department store Bon Genie Grieder, between 1975 and 1985 marked his return from the United States. 

His book of portraits of local artists earned him the Vitra Celebrities Campaign. Other photographic projects include work for clients such as Hermès, Krug Champagnes, Ferretti yachts and Hublot watches, and for many years he has participated in the creation of catalogues and of publicity campaigns for Chopard jewelers of Geneva.

“When I was about eight or ten I fell in love with the camera”

Christian Coigny

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“When I was about eight or ten I fell in love with the camera,” Coigny says.“Itwas just a beautiful object. Then I started to photograph my girlfriend when I was sixteen. I remember my father’s Life Magazines and all the brilliant black and white photography in them. That really influenced me, becoming quite responsible for my work now. After I failed to enter university I took up photography wholeheartedly. Thinking back, most of my work – in fact, everything in my life – has been influenced by my youth, between five and fifteen, I guess. It left a very strong imprint on my future.” 

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1946, Christian Coigny has for the past 30 years developed a career in traditional black and white photography. 

Both his still lives and nudes are organized with exceptional precision, by arranging in his studio a variety of boards, panels, stools, jugs, heavy fabrics, and lightweight sheets of paper. 

In the soft daylight coming from one side, these compositions look fairy-like. Immersed in a suspended time, they evoke Carlo Carra’s and Giorgio Morandi’s metaphysical paintings. 

Large format cameras endow Coigny’s prints with a rare plasticity and an extremely wide range of nuances, a genuine triumph of grays. Nude female figures move around in these mysterious spaces calmly, full of grace, showing their bodies in a perfect harmony. None of them is a professional model. They are friends, recent acquaintances, or more often dancers of the Linga ballet company.

”I have always used film. I like the darkroom, the physical contact with my work. I like to know that people see a photo that has not been altered in any way, showing exactly what I saw, despite the fact that it is in black and white and not in color. These are the reasons why I use film and I will continue to do so until the end.”

Christian Coigny have six books published as of yet. Christian Coigny 2014, Le monde animalier de Chopard 2014, Photographies 1990, Portraits d’artistes 1983, Ohmmes 1982

Sittings, 2000

This book is the culmination of an advertising campaign by the exclusive design company Vitra, which had the idea of photographing 130 famous personalities sitting on Vitra chairs. 

The resulting photographs collected over ten years are remarkable in their portrayal of wolrd-famous personalities from the fine and performing arts commenting on the link between style and status. During his sessions Coigny photographed Charles Bukowski, Audrey Hepburn, Allan Ginsberg, Davids Hockney, Dizzy Gillepsie, Ben Kingsley, Billy Wilder, Franco Moschino, Frank Stella, John Irving, John Malkovich, Keith Haring, Lou Reed, Louise Bourgeois, Martin Scorsese, Miles Davis and another 115 recognized people.

Over the last forty years, Coigny has made advertising campaigns, catalogues and photographic projects for outstanding clients suchs as Hermès, Chopard jewelers, Krug champagnes, Ferretti yachts, Baume & Mercier, Maurice Lacroix, and Hublot watches.