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 recognizable aesthetic. Although he often parodies fashion photography, he is very much a participant in it, promoting the industry 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 than 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 Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); Kunsthalle Bonn, Germany (2016); Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2015); DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece (2014); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2013); Daelim Museum, Seoul (2011); Dallas Contemporary, TX (2011); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2010); and Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris (2006). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Beyond Fashion, ArtisTree, Hong Kong (2019); Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography 1911-2011, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2018); La Vie Simple - Simplement la Vie, Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles, France (2017); VOGUE 100: A Century of Style, National Portrait Gallery, London (2016) and Manchester Art Gallery (2016); Faces Now: European Portrait Photography Since 1990, BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, traveled to Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands, and National Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece (2015); How Soon Was Now, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2014); and Paparazzi! Photographers, Stars and Artists, Centre Pompidou, Metz, France (2014); Riotous Baroque, Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland (2012), toured to Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain (2013); Not in Fashion, MMK Museum, Frankfürt, Germany (2010;) and Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography, Tate Modern, London (2008). In 2007, Teller represented the Ukraine as one of five artists in the 52nd Venice Biennale and will return to Venice for the 57th Biennale in 2017. His work is included in numerous international collections, including the Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris; International Center for Photography, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; The Olbricht Collection, Berlin, Germany; Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
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.