"I look for humanity in the hidden
layers of cities -the crossroads and
tunnels, the abandoned buildings
and forgotten tracts of land. I often
feel engulfed by the vast, immobile
concrete landscape. But then, out
of this mundane urban darkness,
something beautiful, almost mysti-
cal, emerges."

-Claudia Christen

My Portrait

©Thomas Dworzak

" The street...the only valid field of experience."

-Andre Breton

Growing up in Switzerland, her bedroom facing the Alps, Claudia Christen's eye was drawn early to open spaces, to their spirit and light. She began her design education at the School of Visual Arts in Biel, focusing on projects that explored how societies used and abused their environments, documenting the art and absurdity that resulted.

Moving to America in 1996, Christen saw a world where landscapes were often disturbingly altered. She began photographing these vast commercial spaces, quickly constructed to satisfy daily needs, but drained of any spirit or history. While working as a designer and photographer for top firms in New York and San Francisco, including Smart Design and the architect Aldo Rossi, she continued to seek out and document these massive social

artifacts - from the aging New Jersey ocean ports and Coney Island shore to the commercial deserts of Middle America.

In 2004, after graduating from the International Center of Photography's program in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism, Christen began freelance work on major design and advertising campaigns for clients including Hewlett-Packard and the new identity for the Taxis of New York. She also designed and edited photography books by Thomas Dworzak, Andrew Lichtenstein and Christopher Morris (My America, 2007 ICP Infinity Award winner).

Recently, her ongoing, large-format project, Relics, documenting the American landscape, won the PDN 2007 award for Personal Projects. In 2008-09, Christen will be based in Milan and in Brooklyn, continuing her work in freelance photography and photo book design. United States. "Relics" won the PDN Award 07 for personal projects.


AIG Highstar, New York
Port Newark Container Terminal

Advertising campaign for the Smart printer, including packaging

Rosenblum Architects, New York
Interior Architecture

Thompson Hotels, New York
National advertising campaign


Thomas Dworzak, Magnum
Der Kaukasus, (Mets and Schilt, 2009), design/editing

Christopher Morris, VII
My America (Steidl, 2006), design/editing
(ICP Infinity Award winner, 2007)

Andrew Lichtenstein
Never Coming Home (Charta, 2007), preliminary design/editing


Smart Design, New York /
San Francisco

Managing director of Photography/
Senior Designer, 1997- 2003 and
2004 -present (part-time)

Inhouse lifestyle, portrait, architectual and high-end product photography. Selected clients: Groupe SEB-worldwide,Omron, Quartet.

Branding, User Interface, Graphics
Lead Designer, NYC Taxi Fleet
Graphic Identity, Disney, Estee Lauder, IDSA, iriver, Issey Miyake, Johnson&Johnson, Kaleidescape, Kelloggs, LG Electronics, Microsoft, National Geographic, OXO International, Reebok, Seagram, simplehuman, Revere, Timberland, Toshiba, XM Satellite Radio.

Aldo Rossi Architects, New York
Designer, 1996
Branding, advertising and interior design.