Juergen Teller Talks Nudity, Muses, and Not Sleeping With Subjects

Juergen Teller‘s photographs are known for their earnestness. Turns out, the man himself isn’t much different.

Style.com‘s Tim Blanks sat down with the photographer for a candid chat in which Teller explains how his process differs from most fashion photographers, with their hordes of assistants and high-tech equipment. He also tells the story of his early experience in Italy working for Robin Derrick, the then-creative director of Italian Elle who was instrumental in this year’s Harper’s Bazaar redesign. Read on for some of our favorite quotes from the piece:

On shooting a Marc Jacobs campaign with Charlotte Rampling and his wife Sadie:

I remember we were both lying on the floor, and I said to Charlotte and Sadie, “What are we going to do now?” And Sadie just said, “Why don’t you suck her toe?” And I said, “That’s fucking weird, I’m going to do that.” And Charlotte said, “Go ahead.” It took ages to do this picture because she was giggling the whole time.

On his bare bones approach:

Sometimes there’s a lot of money involved and I have a responsibility to the client to get the fucking thing done. A lot of other people say, “Stand like that, stay like that,” and they do a Polaroid and everyone—all the assistants, the hair and makeup, everyone—stands around looking at the Polaroid or nowadays looking at the screen, then they say, “Let’s do it, shoot,” by which time the model is so tense the Polaroid is better than the end product.

On whether he considers his long time subjects (Kate Moss, Kirsten Owen, and Kristen McMenamy) to be his ‘muses’:

Muse is a weird word. I just think I’m really interested in them, and they’re really interested in me, and we find it interesting and stimulating to go on that journey together. And I like their company and I don’t get tired of them visually, but it’s work, there can’t be any sexual tension. Otherwise, you just fuck them.

See what we mean? The man doesn’t beat around the, er, bush.

[Style]

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