Christian's roots are grounded in international urban settings. He lived in European and American cities with his artistic parents until he relocated to New York to embark on full-time study in photography at Syracuse University. There he ignited a passion for capturing the human spirit in photographs that he’s nurtured ever since. Witkin moved to New York City to grow his dream and assist the storied photographers Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz.
It wasn’t long until Witkin launched his independent career with a series of street portraits that were commissioned by New York magazine. From there, he received immediate accolades and recognition as an important and fresh voice in the photographic community and the art world.
Witkin aims to explore the light and dark places of the human psyche by stripping his subjects down of all baggage and artifice until what is before him is the pure essence of the subject. Achieving this intimacy with his subjects is something akin to catching them at their most vulnerable and introspective. This curiosity has taken him around the world, where he’s embedded himself with a group of Thai transsexuals and traversed Ethiopian tribal societies. His subject choices are atypical, and despite the vast landscapes inherent in his subject matter, his aesthetic always circles back to his earliest cosmopolitan influences. His work harkens to the streetwise Diane Arbus and anthropological August Sander, both of whom he has been compared with.
Current projects include a book preperation on his 25 years of photographing celebrities titled CERTAIN PEOPLE; a massive 20-year study of the people of India tittled INDIA STREET PORTRAITS; a body of work in ETHIOPIA spanning 10 years; his study of the transsexual community in Thailand titled WOMEN ONCE MEN; and a newly completed prototype for his first book titled ORDINARY BEAUTY, a culmination of 25 years of portraiture,nudes and bodily fragments on the subject of women. Witkin’s work appears in major magazines such as the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and Vogue. His work has been used to create landmark campaigns for IBM, Nike, GAP, AMEX, RED, Kodak and Shinola. Recently he has begun directing shorts and tv commercials for the magazine Dance Ink and Clinique Beauty.