When I Spoke To Juergen Teller

Before deciding to move to London for good, I came to the city in early 2013 to see if I would like living here and if there was a chance for me to make it as a photographer. I remember going to an event organized by The Guardian where Sean O’Hagan interviewed Juergen Teller at the Royal Geographical Society. At the end of the event, Juergen was signing copies of his books and after asking me who shall he sign my copy to, he asked me what was I doing in London. And when I told him that I was trying to figure out whether to move here to become a photographer he said that there wasn't a better city in the world to be a photographer. He doesn't know it, but with those words he changed my life forever: by the end of that year I moved to London, and the following year I became a full-time photographer.

I have a profound admiration for Juergen Teller's work. I love the work of many photographers but there is just a rawness and a bluntness in his photography that makes it very honest. I have been asked in the past how come I mention him as one of my inspirations if my work doesn't look anything like his... but I think that one thing is admiring someone and a very different one is trying to copy them! I don't want to be him, I want to be me and shoot like me. I just like the way that he portrays people in a way that other photographers are scared of: showing people and their surroundings as they are, with their virtues and what are considered their flaws, because there is beauty in everyone.

We photographers, like many creatives, capture a three dimensional world in a two dimensional medium. And while many others try to represent that third dimension by using perspective and other visual techniques, I believe that this third dimension is actually the emotion that we awaken in whomever is looking at our work. Juergen Teller has often been called a provocateur. But where others see provocation, I see honesty. I see someone trying to create the image that has never been seen before. And I share that vision, I share his struggle. Paraphrasing Iris Apfel, there is just too much sameness in photography these days.

I hope that one day my words could affect anyone the way that his words affected me. Moving to London was one of the best decisions that I have ever taken in my life.

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