Juergen Teller

Biography of Juergen Teller

Striking a balance between commercialism and creativity, Juergen Teller is one of the most iconic photographers of his generation, effortlessly crossing the line between fashion and fine art photography.


Born in 1964 Juergen Teller studied at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich before moving to London at the age of 22 to avoid military service. Unable to speak English, he never imagined for a second he would make it as a photographer, but his career took off after taking photographs of the singer Sinéad O'Connor for her single Nothing Compares 2 You, 1990. He distinguished himself further with a famous series of portraits of Kurt Cobain after being asked to join them on tour. Famous for regularly including himself in his photographs, Teller also usually prefers to work in color, using an over-exposed Contax G camera.


Highly unpredictable, Juergen Teller delights in keeping his audience guessing, but each of his projects are marked by their raw intensity and intimate subtlety, allowing him to take his subjects—celebrity or otherwise—off on unexpected tangents. He has collaborated with Marc Jacobs since the late 1990s, taking photographs of Roni Horn, Michael Stipe, and Winona Ryder along the way.


In 2003 Juergen Teller was awarded the prestigious Citibank Prize for Photography. He has exhibited his work at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art in Paris and the Münchner Fotomuseum in Munich. He also appeared in the 52nd International Venice Biennale in 2007 and in January 2013 a retrospective of his work entitled “Woo” opened at the ICA in London. 

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