Wednesday, February 1, 2012

►Martin Schoeller - Mesmerizing portraits

►Martin Schoeller is a New York based photographer whose style is distinguished by similar treatment of all subjects whether they are celebrities or unknown. His most recognizable work are his portraits, shot with similar lighting, backdrop, and tone. His work appears in The New Yorker, Outside Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, and Vogue. Born in Munich Germany on March 12, 1968. Married to Helen Rutman Schoeller, a graphic designer, in 2000.

Schoeller studied photography at Lette Verein in Berlin. He came to New York in 1993 and worked as an assistant for Annie Leibovitz from 1993 to 1996. He left in 1996 to pursue his freelancing career. Schoeller has been a contributing photographer to New Yorker since 1999. A book of his portraits was published by teNeues in 2005: "Close Up: Portraits 1998-2005". Another, "Female Bodybuilders," was published by Pond Press in 2008. Stern published a portfolio of his work, "Fotographie Portfolio #54", also in 2008. Schoeller's influences include photographers August Sander, Bernd Becher, and Hilla Becher. His work is in the Permanent Collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Martin Schoeller’s unique and distinctive style of making portraits is characterized by its directness.  The model, often a celebrity, political figure, faces the photographer squarely, and the image is cropped very tightly.  It is as if the already forceful essence and intensity of their personality has been further compressed.  This power is emphasized in the large format prints (printed up to 50 x 40 inches). 
The most vital feature of Schoeller’s work is the mesmerizing way in which the subjects transfix the viewer.  The eyes are full of life.  The artist’s technique is a combination of his directorial skills and remarkable lighting.  The work has been sometimes characterized as raw and unforgiving, but it is, in fact, revealing and smart.

Martin Schoeller has been a contract photographer for The New Yorker since 1999. The editor, David Remnick, says in his introduction to Close Up: " Celebrity is all about surface and saturation, and “the big heads” of Martin Schoeller push those qualities to the limit.  They give the face, the human expression, a new dimension, and that’s why we keep looking at them.  That’s what portraits are for, what they are all about.  It is very hard not to look at long time at these faces, known and unknown, celebrities and ordinary people."
American Photo named him one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” and in the last year alone, he has been profiled on television and in over 100 international publications ranging from Hello, to The Economist,to Photo District News. A native of Germany, Mr. Schoeller lives and works in New York City.

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