Its from may 2000, lehmann maupin gallery (n.y)
I think he used a strong spot light for his fashion work…and i know, for a video i saw, he photographied with a contact t-2 for the go-sees book.
The Arts Interview
Monday 6th March 2006
The arts intervew - He has cavorted naked with Charlotte Rampling and covered himself in caviar for Marc Jacobs, but Juergen Teller thinks "fashion is a wank". He talks to Rosie Millard about changing nappies, body fascism and what went wrong with Kate Moss
Juergen Teller is a confident man. An artist with a stellar track record of still photography that encompasses high-end ad campaigns, editorials in all the glossies and exhibitions at Tate Modern and MoMA, he is now much more interested in taking photos of his family than shots of leggy, loaded beauties. Phillips, the auction house, recently invited him to shoot a forthcoming jewellery sale using a clutch of supermodels. No, said Teller. I'm bored with supermodels. But my mum likes jewellery. I'll shoot your diamonds hanging from her ears.
His reason for photographing his wife, the London contemporary art dealer Sadie Coles, and his two children, eight-year-old Lola and one-year-old Ed, is that he loves hanging out with them. "I have no idea who the top models are at the moment. It doesn't interest me. I like the luxurious, dressing-up aspect of fashion. But I wouldn't want to do it like Mario Testino [the famous photographer of Madonna and Princess Diana], day in, day out. There's nothing wrong with it; I'm just not interested in it. Currently, I am changing nappies, eating food and playing with my kids. And trying to work, and I can't work on something very far away from my life. So I used my family to model the jewellery. It made much more sense."
Although he has won the Citibank Photography Prize and created a celebrated series of pictures with the American artist Cindy Sherman, Teller appears remarkably unfussed about "getting on". He just likes clients who let him do what he wants - like Marc Jacobs, for whose own-name label he shoots campaigns. On a 2004 shoot, the only clothes he used from Jacobs's sizeable empire were a pink silk shirt, worn by the iconic beauty Charlotte Rampling, and a pair of grey satin boxers, worn by himself. The resulting series, featuring himself and Rampling in an ornate suite at the Crillon in Paris, gave new meaning to the words "stark bollock naked", because most of the time Teller was.
After you have finished noticing his genitalia waving in the air, you focus on other things, such as his appendectomy scar. He is thin in some shots, and fat in others. Teller loves this physical honesty. One picture shows Rampling's aristocratic face, close up and haughty, right beside Teller's wedding tackle. A caviar spoon is draped over his crotch. Dollops of caviar enmesh with pubic hair. "I was really pleased to be there with her and the caviar," says Teller, as if he is talking about a holiday snap in a Russian diner. "Then afterwards I thought, 'What is going on? This is all about excess and I am being too careful with this $1,000 caviar.' So I did this." We turn the page. There is Teller, eyes shut, caviar spilt all across his face. Yes, it's excessive.
I look at another shot. Teller kneels on a piano, his back to the camera, sticking his naked arse up at us. Rampling is there, too, looking as if she is trying very hard to ignore him. "A lot of people say I have a snapshot style," he says. Well, I was thinking about something else, but do carry on. "Every single picture is completely thought through. If it doesn't work I have to do it again. These photos, for example . . . Well, I was the art director and set up each and every one. It looks casual - but that's the best thing about it."
Teller, now 41, came to Britain from Germany when he was in his early twenties. He tells an excruciating tale of how he and another German, sensitive about their homeland's recent past, would keep their voices low when speaking in their own language. One time, a British wag leaned over and stage-whispered, through hysterical giggles: "Don't mention the war!" Teller, whose knowledge of English then did not stretch to the finer points of Fawlty Towers, had no idea how to take this, other than at face value.
At the moment he is quite happy to take things at face value. He shows a picture of the American supermodel Angela Lindvall. She is lying on her back, legs wide open. White liquid is sprayed around her crotch. "I called this Paris, Milan, New York, I'm Coming!," says Teller affably, "because fashion is such a wank."
For someone who made his career out of snapping sexy birds in clothes, this is a rather daring sentiment. But then Teller's entire approach is daring. He even questions the validity of his most famous muse. "I am astonished about the Kate Moss story, and not just the recent drugs affair. I'm astonished about the Kate Moss story, full stop. I don't quite understand it. I have known her personally very well, for about 16 years, since she was 15. She is an extraordinary woman, so much fun and so energetic. But to get to be such an icon, to have exploded like a rocket - I don't really get it. She is beautiful, but so are many others." He goes on. "I don't think she looks any good in any photos of the past five years. In fact, she looks crap in all of her recent huge advertising campaigns. Chanel, Burberry, Rimmel. She looks awful. It's as if it's enough just for her to look something like Kate Moss. It's a dreadful life for her, to live in this position. And cocaine? What a surprise that was."
He has a whole file of unpublished photos of Kate, which he'd had printed up for publication just before her drugs bust. "And I thought, '****, this is a stupid moment. Maybe in 20 years' time I will publish them, but not now.'" I ask him if he considers himself part of the fashion industry, where his romantic, fantastical hyperrealism first made an impact. "Not at all," he says. "Since I began, models now appear so alienated and airbrushed. They push a woman to be a certain way, and to believe a certain false dream about beauty products. And it just makes women feel very insecure. I would rather push them to be OK about the way they are." Basically, if you have an appendectomy scar, flaunt it.
In one of his latest shots, Kristen McMenamy lifts a long dress all the way up to her belly, revealing a carefully clipped pubic triangle. "That shot was for Artforum and Frieze magazines. English magazines. I couldn't use that in an American mag," he says wryly. But beauty? "It's about having a certain aura, and a certain confidence about the way you look. That was what Kate Moss was like when she was young. She certainly wasn't supposed to be the supermodel thing." Fashion mags are bun-kum. And cliched bunkum at that. "What you see is an older guy with a 16-year-old model. But never the other way around."
Teller's first solo show in Paris opens on 4 March. Entitled "Nurnberg", it consists of a sequence of images taken at the infamous Zeppelintribune parade ground, site of Nazi propaganda rallies, which was designed by Hitler's favourite builder, Albert Speer. Over several months, Teller has photographed the monument, the podium and the steep, ruthless steps, all of which have been left to decay. Or not. Teller, whose childhood home was close to Nuremberg, explains. "We were never allowed to go there. Of course, that meant all the kids just wanted to hang out there, the younger ones running about, the older ones on bikes or snogging their girlfriends. It wasn't really maintained, but if there was a broken step, or a smashed wall, it would be mysteriously replaced with a new one."
Teller's photographs show the delicate weeds, flowers and lichen that have grown up around the stone blocks. "In Germany, there is a saying about letting the grass grow over things, meaning that events will eventually be forgotten," he says. "Maybe this is what is happening at Nurnberg. I wanted to give my personal past a positive end." He has: the blocks and steps are full of fear and cruelty, but the series is leavened by shots of his children. Another shows a newborn deer curled up on a countryside track. These leave a distinct sense of hope.
Will German artists ever stop referring to the war? "I think that 20-year-olds are completely free from it," Teller says. "My grandfather didn't fight, because he worked on the railway. And my other grandfather came from the Czech Republic. He didn't go to the war because he was a bridge-maker for violins, and it was such a rare job that the Germans didn't want to lose him. That's a bridge there." He shows me another photograph. Surprise, surprise, he's got nothing on. "Look, I'm poking my willy through it."
Why do you love taking your clothes off, Juergen? You have a very friendly, cuddly body, but you sure do love to show it off. He puts it down to being German. Apparently nudity is pretty huge over there. "Everyone walks around naked. Everyone goes into the sauna naked. You go into the kitchen naked and make a cup of tea and walk back again. Naked. It's much more normal, and free. It is how you are. A lot of the time, naked. I find myself naked a lot. I find it quite fascinating to see how the body works." He sighs, and smiles. "Society has a strange relationship with nakedness."
Juergen Teller's work is on show at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris 75014 (tel: 00 33 1 42 18 56 50) from 4 March to 28 May
IN CAMERA Juergen Teller >Interview
IN CAMERA: Juergen Teller
Penny Martin, Editor, SHOWstudio: There is an image in your current exhibition at Modern Art where you and your wife are pictured standing either side of an estate car, much in the way that Mrs and Mrs Andrews stand in front of their country estate in the Gainsborough painting. Are you asserting yourself as the new society painter?
Juergen Teller: First of all, it's not an estate car. It's a Mercedes 500CL. It's for me the perfect family portrait where I've put everything: the car, the wife and the kid. It's a happy photograph. It's my state of mind.
Alison, New York: Why do you think you became a photographer?
Juergen Teller: I really don't know. If I think for a second, I guess I wanted to explore the world.
Pol, Barcelona: Why do you think you have been successful?
Juergen Teller: What is success? If you are content with yourself, then it's a success.
Tracey Emin, London: Dear Juergen, do you ever feel that you use people?
Juergen Teller: Of course I use people and people use me. That doesn't mean it's in a negative way whatsoever. As much as I use, I give. When other people use me, they give me something as well.
Wulan, Jakarta, Indonesia: In your opinion, does talent come from hard work or are you just born with it?
Juergen Teller: You are born with it. But you have to work hard on yourself.
Peter Bannan, Christchurch New Zealand: What most inspires you to press the shutter?
Juergen Teller: Strange question. I'm not really interested in the shutter.
Charles Warren, Rock Hill, South Carolina: Has Helmut Newton influenced your work?
Juergen Teller: Not really.
krasi genova, sofia, bulgaria: Are you competitive?
Juergen Teller: Yes.
cristina, america: Which painters have influenced you?
Juergen Teller: Many things influence me in life. I couldn't recall one particular painter.
Renee, Perth, Australia: What makes your photography art?
Juergen Teller: I don't know.
Lou Mensah - photographer, London: Juergen, do you find that your work is criticised more zealously now that your are positioning yourself as an art, rather than purely a fashion photographer?
Juergen Teller: I don't consider myself as an art photographer. Nor as a fashion photographer. I consider myself as a photographer who produces work. I am interested in many things. But your question has a point. People want to put everyone in one cupboard because it's easier for them to deal with.
Santiago Forero, Colombia (South America): Do you think you have been influenced by the work of Wolfgang Tillmans?
Juergen Teller: I like some of his work. Whenever I like somebody's work, whether it's a painting, a film, a book or whatever it might be, it has impact somehow deep in your psyche, or in yourself.
James Tregaskes, London, SW10: Do you have any message that you wish to communicate through your work?
Juergen Teller: To be yourself.
Abby Kirkwood, Sutton, England: Your work provokes extreme reactions. What makes you invite hostility towards you?
Juergen Teller: I don't think it's so extreme. I just try to do what I believe in.
nacho, Barcelona: Where do you see yourself within contemporary German photography?
Juergen Teller: I am not concerned about countries and borders.
lars, london: hallo juergen, sehnst sich du dich manchmal nach deutschland. (Hello Juergen, Do you sometimes feel a longing for Germany?
Juergen Teller: Of course I do. Whenever I miss it too much, I go. I go quite regularly.
Pino, Milano: Do you think there is any social value in your work? Does it benefit anyone?
Juergen Teller: I think there is. If it helps you to find your own individuality, which I always try to push within my work, free from any preconceptions, to try to find yourself. That's an extremely difficult thing to do for a lot of people.
jason evans, hove: who do you think you are kidding ?
Juergen Teller: **** off.
david pineda, london east: Does your status as a well known photographer make the challenges of your personal work more difficult to fulfill?
Juergen Teller: No it doesn't.
Anna Parker, Essex: Does politics have a place in fashion?
Juergen Teller: You can be politically aware whatever you do.
Angelica Maszil, Barcelona: Why have you decreased the amount of fashion editorial you publish?
Juergen Teller: Because I don't have so many ideas. Only when I have one I pursue and try to publish it.
Rachael OPP, London: Juergen, when conducting a fashion shoot do you prefer working with models or 'real people'?
Juergen Teller: It changes all the time. They are all real people to me.
ivan, new york: Which designer is the most enjoyable to work with?
Juergen Teller: Marc Jacobs and Helmut Lang.
Aaron Tan, Singapore: Why is it necessary to credit yourself at the bottom of every ad campaign?
Juergen Teller: Why not?
Kath, Australia: Do you find your ad work more satisfying or your personal work?
Juergen Teller: What do you think?
Mike , London: What's your day rate for a 'commercial shoot' like your Helmut lang or Marc Jacobs work?
Juergen Teller: You'll have to call my agent.
Nick Knight, London: Personally I believe what we all do as photographers is performance. With your last series of photos of you and Charlotte Rampling, the pictures were taken by someone else presumably under your direction. If you are relinquishing control through the lens you are therefore taking a step toward pure performance as both director & actor. Are you conscientious of this and can you be persuaded to go further and perform a piece for our webcams?
Juergen Teller: I am in complete control. People don't ask a filmmaker 'did you really shoot this film?' just because there was a cameraman? And Nick, I don't know what a webcam is. If you have any ideas, why don't we do something together?
Joelena, North Carolina: Why Charlotte Rampling?
Juergen Teller: I am an old friend of hers and I love her.
Terry Jones, i-D, London: What's your view of fatherhood?
Juergen Teller: My view of fatherhood? What do you mean? I am very happy and proud to be a father and I enjoy it very much.
Heather @ NYLON MAG, NYC: Hotel rooms are a constant setting for your A-list sitters. What do they add to your portraits?
Juergen Teller: Well, they are just in them.
Wong Kar-Wai, Shanghai / Hong Kong: As a film/advertising director I get 200% out of my cast supposedly! How do you as a photographer get your sitter's attention to detail as you would want it?
Juergen Teller: I am just there with them. Talk to them, engage with them, work with them, eat and drink with them, have a good time with them. Being involved with them and them with me.
christine, athens: Do you sleep with your models?
Juergen Teller: Yes, with all of them.
Simon Foxton, Western London: Hello Juergen, Why do you appear naked in so many of your pictures? Is this a statement about yourself or possibly about the representation of the body in photography? Do you dislike clothes or are you perhaps a little turned on by exposing yourself to such a large audience?
Juergen Teller: It's about being pure and honest. At certain moments, I didn't want to deal with what certain clothes mean. It helped me to be more direct. I am not turned on by exposing myself to an audience.
Nick Knight, London: How do you know if you have gone too far?
Juergen Teller: It hasn't happened yet because I wouldn't go to certain places where it's uncomfortable for myself or for the sitter. I am very concious of being responsible to myself and to others.
Scott Denton-Cardew, Portland: What is private for you?
Juergen Teller: That is private.
JOSE NUÑEZ, MADRID-SPAIN: Describe your relationship with Kate Moss.
Juergen Teller: She is a friend. We have known each other for about 15 years and have spent good times working and playing together.
faith bowman, chicago, il: Does your current photographic technique bear any resemblance to your formal training?
Juergen Teller: My formal training was very conservative. I spent two years in photo college, learning to work with a large, medium and 35mm camera, learnt how to develop black and white films and print colour and black and white. It was a solid education.
pat, mumbai india: What kind of cameras and lights do you use? We are students from india.
Juergen Teller: Contax G2 with a flash on top.
Thymaya Payne, Los Angeles California: In an era defined by the moving image, how do you see photography maintaining its relevance?
Juergen Teller: Is the moving image defining our era? I think photography remains as relevant. What are you talking about?
Miss Yau Kiu Chan, Hong Kong: How do you get away with just using compact cameras?
Juergen Teller: I get away as fast as I can!
Nico, Australia: Has taking photographs become easier in the digital age?
Juergen Teller: I don't know. I don't work digitally. Taking photographs has nothing to do with the medium.
Kate, Oregon: Do you ever feel obligated to be "Juergen Teller": are you trapped by your own career?
Juergen Teller: No.
Georgios Mavrikos, London: Do you ever feel insecure about the work you are producing?
Juergen Teller: Of course. At certain moments, if you are insecure, then it becomes exciting. You don't know where it's going. That's the interesting bit. You have to push yourself where it's unsafe. It's very exciting.
Boris, Deutschland: Hast Du schon einmal daran gedacht mit dem Fotografieren aufzuhören? (Have you ever considered quitting photography altogether?)
Juergen Teller: No. As long as I am excited about life. There needs to always be a reason why you take a picture in the first place. You have to think very hard before you want to take a photograph. There is always something in life that I want to explore.
jared, l.a., ca tx: Do you believe in Jesus?
Juergen Teller: Not really.
Mark, leeds: What advice do you have for young photographers, starting out in their careers?
Juergen Teller: You have to know why you want to take a picture in the first place. And that's a hell of a difficult question. If you don't know, don't start.
Dirk Messner, www.dirkmessner.com: Sag mal Jürgen, was sagt denn eigentlich deine Mama zu deinen Sachen? (Tell me, Juergen, What does your Mum actually say about the subject of your work?) Dirk
Juergen Teller: Some things she likes. Somethings she has enormous problems with. But I try to discuss it as much as I can with her. But I don't expect her to fully understand everything about it. But if I can help, explaining it to her, that's a good thing.
Nobuyoshi Araki, Japan: I prefer to ask questions in person, so instead I am sending you my warmest regards.
Juergen Teller: Thank you. I am coming soon. Love
a dim capacity for wings
thanks for sharing robot and fashionologie!
i recently came across this conversation that emerged after soemone had posted a fairly recent teller editorial at the live journal community foto_decadent and thought it was worth the read as teller still seems to provoke ambivalent reactions:
clever ain't wise
|juergen, photographer, teller|