Juergen Teller

Behind the Mirror

Nothing is more seductive than beauty. And this has been known since the Helen myth from antiquity. Three goddesses endeavored to win Paris’ judgement in their favor – by offering him something into the bargain. Faced with the choice between power, wisdom and quite simply the most beautiful woman, Paris opted for – the beautiful Helen.

The latter-day goddesses answer to the names of Kate, Claudia, Christy, Linda, Cindy, Naomi or Eva. Like their classical predecessor, the supermodels personify an ideal of beauty and a veritable cult of reverence has sprung up around them. Juergen Teller has photographed them. In ad campaigns for all the greats of the fashion dream factory. His photographs have been published in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Face.

As an ad photographer, Juergen Teller is a star himself, yet with his portraits of women he is keen to look behind the mirror of the fashion industry. He juxtaposes the aesthetics of the imperfect with the perfectionism of the international glamour world, comparing an ideal of naturalness untypical of the industry with a theatrical femininity straight from the world of operetta. Beyond the official elegance, unexpected traces of vulnerability, fragility, timidity and melancholy can be found not only in the faces of nameless young girls whose agencies send them round to Teller’s studio in Notting Hill for castings, but also in the face of supermodel Kate Moss.

Yet, in Juergen Teller’s portraits, you will not find any soul stripping, unmasking or intrusiveness. Rather, they grant an unbarred view of the authentic person behind the stylized idol.

Biographical information

1964

born in Erlangen

1984–86

studied at Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Fotografie, Munich

lives and works in London