Juergen Teller (b. 1964, Erlangen, Germany; lives and works in London) is a prominent photographer who has successfully navigated both the fine art and commercial world since beginning his career in the late 1980s. Teller does not distinguish between his commercial and non-commercial work, treating all of his subjects—family members, celebrities, and himself—with a uniform style of grit and raw emotion that has become his iconic and instantly recognizable aesthetic. Although he often parodies fashion photography, he is very much a participant in it, promoting the industry even as he criticizes it. Teller subjects his models to unflattering angles, uses a bright, harsh flash, and never retouches his photographs, exposing the myth of idealized beauty that airbrushed fashion images offer. Teller’s work is characterized by a spontaneity and genuineness that he believes better evoke authentic desire in comparison to the artificial sensuality often found in commercial photography. Some of the prominent figures Teller has photographed include William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, Kristen McMenamy, Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West.
Teller studied at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at Museo Villa Pignatelli, Naples, Italy (2019); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2018); Vivienne Westwood Showroom, New York, NY (2017); Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany (2017); Kunsthalle Bonn, Germany (2016); Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany (2015); DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece (2014); Institute of Contemporary Art, London, United Kingdom (2013); Daelim Museum, Seoul, South Korea (2011); Dallas Contemporary, TX (2011); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2010); and Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris, France (2006). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include United Artists for Europe, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, United Kingdom (2019); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London, United Kingdom (2019); Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL (2019); Self Service: Twenty-Five Years of Fashion, People and Ideas Reconsidered, Dallas Contemporary, TX (2019); Dior: From Paris to the World, Dallas Museum of Art, TX (2019); Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography 1911-2011, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2018); La Vie Simple - Simplement la Vie, Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles, France (2017); VOGUE 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery, London, United Kingdom, traveled to Manchester Art Gallery (2016); Faces Now: European Portrait Photography Since 1990, BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium, traveled to Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and National Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece (2015); How Soon Was Now, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany (2014); Paparazzi! Photographers, Stars and Artists, Centre Pompidou, Metz, France (2014); Riotous Baroque, Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland (2012), travelled to Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain (2013); Not in Fashion, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfürt, Germany (2010); and Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2008). In 2007, Teller represented Ukraine as one of five artists in the 52nd Venice Biennale.
His work is included in numerous international collections, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Daelim Museum, Seoul, South Korea; Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France; Fotomuseum München, Munich, Germany; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands; International Center of Photography, New York, NY; Kunsthaus Zürich, The Museum of Modern Art in Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany; Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany; National Portrait Gallery, London, United Kingdom; Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom.
Teller was the recipient of the 1993 Photography Prize at Festival de la Mode, Monaco and the recipient of the 2003 Citibank Photography Prize in association with the Photographer’s Gallery, London.
Artist portrait: Juergen Teller, Self-portrait, London 2018 © Juergen Teller, All rights reserved