Christian Ryder Witkin was born in Manchester, England in 1966 to a Dutch mother and an American father, painter Jerome Witkin. They lived in various European and American cities until 1972 when after his parents’ divorce, Christian moved to Amsterdam with his other until 1984. At 17 he returned to the States to live with his father and began a full time study of photography at Syracuse University. IN 1987, after interning for the summer, Christain made the decision to move to New York City and assist full time, working for such noted photographers as Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz.
After assisting for four years, in 1993, Christian launched his independent career receiving instant recognition as an important and fresh voice in the photographic community and the art world. His work immediately began to bring him critical and editorial acclaim. Major campaigns and awards followed.
With a noted artistic father and uncle, Christian grew up exposed to the cutting edge of visual expression, allowing for his visual development as an artist to begin at an early age. Christian’s continuing desire to deconstruct his world to its most basic parts has much to do with his research for the truth. He strips things down of all artifice until what is before you is the pure essence of the subject. It is not always pretty but in the end it is honest. He aims to explore the light and dark places of the human psyche.
His subject choices are atypical; his aesthetic harkens more to the streetwise Diane Arbus and anthropological August Sander.
His current projects include the massive 20-year study of the people of India; his body of work in Ethiopia spanning 10 years; his work on the Thai Ladyboy; and the newly completed prototype for his first book titled Ordinary Beauty, the culmination of 25 years of portraiture of the subject of women.
He has a ceaseless and constant desire to explore the unknown and eliminate boundaries. Christian’s work remains an iconic contemporary exploration of the human condition.
Christian’s work appears in major magazines such as the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Travel + Leisure. His work has been used to create landmark campaigns for IBM, Nike, GAP, AMEX, RED, Kodak and Levi’s.