Juergen Teller on Kim and Kanye's "Most Bizarre Photoshoot Ever"

“Popularity doesn’t interest me whatsoever.”

Fashion
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In one of the most interesting photoshoots of the year, Kim and Kanye were photographed perched among derelict landscapes on the grounds of the Château d’Ambleville in France. The mastermind behind this shoot is Juergen Teller, famed fashion photographer. The chance to work with Kim and Kanye happened after the photographer had a great time working with Kanye for The New York Times. The photoshoot became a photobook, and titled “Kanye, Juergen & Kim,” with styled photos of the couple interspersed with photos of the photographer in a bright red puffer jacket. In the first interview talking about the shoot, Teller meant for the experience to be a little odd. Read the entire interview at Business of Fashion.

Teller was so fascinated by the opportunity to work with the Wests that he ceded control over re-touching, something he’s never done before. It’s curious to consider such a thing, given that one quality that defines his photographs is their lack of vanity — perverse in the industry where he makes his living. But, equally, he still managed to assert himself when, confronted by people whose control of their own image is obsessively absolute, he put himself in the picture, literally and figuratively inserting himself between the couple. Teller’s Kimye portfolio is called Kanye, Juergen & Kim. For every careful Kanye-styled and positioned shot of Kim, there’s pole-walking Juergen in his red puffer, toque and short shorts, doggedly fording a freezing stream, scaling mini-mountains of rural detritus. Adding to the obstacle course flavour of these photos is the fact that he’s trailing an incongruous wheelie bag. Metaphor alert! “It’s a comment about how difficult it is to make an original picture,” Teller clarifies. “About doing something other people don’t do. But I can do it. And Charlotte Rampling would have done it, Vivienne Westwood would have done it.” (Both women have bared their souls – and, in Dame Vivienne’s case, a lot more – for Teller.)

And that is, of course, why Kanye West did it, and brought his wife along for the ride. Teller is a person who people do things for. He laughs heartily at the thought. “They only do it because they see it in me. It’s very difficult to explain, but it makes complete sense. I want adventure in my life. I want to do things I haven’t done before. These Hollywood people are so careful of their image and looking right, but there’s a wildness when I come into the photographs. I just want to wade through rivers, climb mountains. And I prevail.”

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