Celebrity Style

ELLE meets Juergen Teller

By Hannah Swerling

To celebrate the opening of Juergen Teller: Woo at London's ICA this week, we spoke to the photographer about his work and famous fashion subjects.

Read on to find out how you can WIN tickets to a special talk at London's ICA...

There aren’t many photographers who could persuade Lily Cole to pose naked in a pile of rubbish, capture Victoria Beckham emerging feet first from a shopping bag or get Charlotte Rampling to jump into bed with them.

But then most people aren’t Juergen Teller, one of the most famous names in contemporary photography who has shot the Marc Jacobs advertising campaigns for 14 years as well as everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to David Hockney and Bjork.

‘I have a way of opening up people and gaining their trust. I think they can see my vulnerability because I’m unafraid to admit if something doesn’t quite work,’ the German-born, London-based photographer explains, speaking to ELLE at the opening of Juergen Teller: Woo, a major survey of both his professional and personal images from the past 21 years at London’s ICA Gallery.

Walk in and you can’t miss the large-scale image of a nude Vivienne Westwood at home. How did it come about?

‘I’ve known Vivienne for 20 years and I very quietly asked if I could take some pictures of her naked. I went over with my family for Sunday lunch and I was really nervous. She said, ‘You came over to take these pictures, why aren’t we taking them?' I like that she knows who she is,’ he recalls.

And it’s exactly this kind of participation and sense of really collaborating with his subjects that makes Teller’s work stand out.

‘I don’t try to be original; I just always want to do something that excites me. In order to do something really good you have to take risks - that’s what I do’.

Juergen Teller: Woo runs until 17 March. Enq ica.org.uk

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To celebrate the ICA’s season on photography, we have two pairs of tickets to offer to Guy Bourdain: A Legacy, the ICA’s panel discussion about the prolific and provocative fashion photographer, hosted by his son Samuel Bourdin on Wednesday 6 February at 6.45pm.

For your chance to WIN, send your name and contact details to elleexperience@elleuk.com with the subject line GUY BOURDAIN by midnight on Wednesday 30th January and the lucky winners will be selected at random (you must be 18 or over to enter).

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