He put Victoria Beckham in a paper bag for Marc Jacobs, shot Charlotte Rampling nude next to the Mona Lisa and bundled Kate Moss into a wheelbarrow. He shoots for fashion brands, magazines and for himself with equal verve and irreverence, capturing life, light, clothes and people within his singular patina of clarity and charm. He is often to be found naked in his own images, spooning a beloved actress or dancing with a lampshade on his head. He is, of course, the inimitable Juergen Teller whose retrospective exhibition Woo opens next week at London’s ICA.
To mark this celebration of one of our generation’s most important visual artists, we asked Teller to answer Jefferson Hack’s reimagining of the Proust Questionnaire, gaining an insight into what makes the photographer happy, sad, laugh and feel inspired.
What are you thinking of right now?
That I have to take care of my back.
What makes you laugh?
Eastbound and Down. Emanuele Mascioni.
What makes you cry?
When terrible things occur.
What do you consider to be the greatest invention?
Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?
"What do you most dislike about contemporary culture?"
"It’s too fast."
Where do you feel most at home?
Where are you right now?
East London at Goldenshot, printing in a laboratory.
What is your proudest achievement in work?
Thinking about something, executing it and liking the result.
What is your proudest achievement in life?
What do you most dislike about contemporary culture?
It’s too fast.
At what points do life and work intersect?
It always does, somehow or another.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Do what you feel is right.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Driving to England to live and not speaking English.
Recommend a book or poem that has changed your perspective on life?
First time, 1990, in Tokyo and meeting Araki Nobuyoshi and looking at his books.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
First school day with a huge tube of sweets, posing in our garden.
What’s the most important relationship in your life?
My wife and children.
What’s the most romantic action you’ve taken?
Asking Pele to call Sadie, who I wasn’t going out with at the time, and convince her I was a nice guy. Soon after I proposed.
Juergen Teller: Woo is at the ICA from January 23 - March 17.