I am guilty of a serious omission. I have completely forgotten to tell the internet how much I love Juergen Teller. And I love him. Loads. Now is probably a good time to bring him up, as he has a new book, Pictures and Words, out May 30th.
From his Go Sees series to his iconic Marc Jacobs campaigns, everything Juergen touches turns to bleached out gold. He is a man who has spawned a thousand imitators, myself included. His vision is honest and raw, yet grandiose and decadent. The way he lights his shots is instantly recognisable – the slight overexposure, bleach out effect. Actually, I always think he and Terry Richardson have a similar way with lighting, but Juergen is the understated French sexy to Terry’s full on LA dripping sex. With Juergen it’s more vulnerable, naive, honest. There’s an awkwardness, an oddity. It’s the Marc Jacobs to Terry, Manolo et al’s Gucci. No wonder the two make such an awesome pairing.
Also, let’s talk bout how successful Teller is as a commercial photographer. He has managed to merge his distinctive style with that of mega brands to create campaigns that become more than just ads, they convey a complete aesthetic, a story, a fantasy. And let’s be honest, who else could put Victoria Beckham in a bag. I like how he takes famous people and creates documentary style fashion photos. Like Helmut Newton’s philosophy of making fashion imagery look like anything but a fashion image, Juergen’s work often obscures the clothes with the personality, or the colour, or the composition of the shot. Almost. That’s his skill. His shots often look like snapshots taken at various stages of decadent parties, evoking something more than just a beautiful dress on a beautiful girl. Which is what all the best pictures look like.