Gilles Larrain (Dec 5, 1938) is a French-American photographer who believes photography is a way to “capture the landscape of the soul of a person.” By taking a unique approach to photography, which includes creating his own lighting, managing the entire darkroom process, and always having subjects come to his personal studio space, Larrain has created acclaimed pieces of art since 1969. In 1973, Larrain published the highly successful photographic book, Idols, which presented portraits of transvestites. Two generations later, the book inspired American photographer Ryan McGinley who wrote an April 2010 article in Vice Magazine, which identified Larrain and the book Idols as one of his early and biggest influences for experimenting with colors, casting, and props, because all of Larrain’s images in the book are raw without any manipulation. Larrain has photographed notable personalities in a wide range of creative disciplines, including the dancers of the American Ballet Theatre, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Salvador Dali, Miles Davis, Sting, Billy Joel, Roberto Rossellini, Norman Mailer, and more.
Born in Dalat, Indochina (now Vietnam) on December 5, 1938, Gilles Larrain began an atypical life moving to Chile, Argentina, Canada, France, and the United States, all before the age of 16.