All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
Martin Schoeller
Photograph by Markian Lozowchuk.
Martin Schoeller
Martin Schoeller

Martin Schoeller

Country: Germany
Birth: 1968

Martin Schoeller is one of the world's preeminent contemporary portrait photographers. He is most known for his extreme-close up portraits, a series in which familiar faces are treated with the same scrutiny as the unfamous. The stylistic consistency of this work creates a democratic platform for comparison between his subjects, challenging a viewer's existing notions of celebrity, value and honesty.

Growing up in Germany, Schoeller was deeply influenced by August Sander's countless portraits of the poor, the working class and the bourgeoisie, as well as Bernd and Hilla Becher, who spawned a school of photographic typology known as the Becher-Schüler. Schoeller's close-up portraits emphasize, in equal measure, facial features, of his subjects - world leaders and indigenous groups, movie stars and the homeless, athletes and artists - leveling them in an inherently democratic fashion.

Schoeller studied photography at the Lette Verein and moved to New York in the mid-1990s where he began his career. Producing portraits of people he met on the street, his work soon gained recognition for its strong visual impact and since 1998 he has contributed to publications such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, TIME Magazine,The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and GQ, among others.

Martin's print and motion work has appeared in many major advertising campaigns ranging from pharmaceuticals, cars and entertainment. His work has won many awards, but most recently he received praise for his Colin Kaepernick image in Nike's “Just do it” campaign which won a prestigious D&AD black pencil and the outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes. Some other advertising clients include: KIA, Chevron, Allstate, HBO, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Mercedes, DreamWorks, Southwest Airlines, GE and Johnnie Walker.

Schoeller's portraits are exhibited and collected internationally, appearing in solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States, as well as part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Martin lives and works in New York City

Must Read Articles

75 Portraits of Holocaust Survivors Photographed by Martin Schoeller
Martin Schoeller exhibits with 'Holocaust Survivors' in Maastricht


A native of Germany, Schoeller, who now lives and works in New York, honed his skills by working with Annie Leibovitz. “Watching her deal with all of the elements that have to come together—subjects, lighting, production, weather, styling, location—gave me an insight into what it takes to be a portrait photographer,” he explains.

Equally important for Schoeller was the photography of German minimalists Bernd and Hilla Becher, who “inspired me to take a series of pictures, to build a platform that allows you to compare.” Schoeller’s portraiture brings viewers eye-to-eye with the well-known and the anonymous. His close-up style emphasizes, in equal measure, the facial features, both studied and unstudied, of his subjects—presidential candidates and Pirahã tribespeople, movie stars and artists—leveling them in an inherently democratic fashion. Schoeller’s photographs challenge us to identify the qualities that may, under varying circumstances, either distinguish individuals or link them together, raising a critical question: "What is the very nature of the categories we use to compare and contrast."

Source: National Portrait Gallery

Websites

martinschoeller.com
@martinschoeller
@martinschoellerstudio.com

Agency

August Image

Galleries

Camera Work
A Gallery

Exhibition

Death Row Exonerees
 

Martin Schoeller's Video

Selected Books

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #40 Portrait
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Meryl Meisler
United States
1951
Meryl Meisler was born 1951 in the South Bronx and raised in North Massapequa, Long Island, New York. Inspired by photographers such as Diane Arbus and Jacques Henri Lartigue, as well as her dad, Jack, and grandfather, Murray Meisler, Meryl Meisler began photographing herself, family, and friends while enrolled in a photography class taught by Cavalliere Ketchum at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1975, Meisler returned to New York City and studied with Lisette Model, continuing to photograph her hometown and the city around her. After working as a freelance illustrator by day, Meisler frequented and photographed the infamous New York discos. As a 1978 C.E.T.A. Artist grant recipient, Meisler created a portfolio of photographs which explored her Jewish identity for the American Jewish Congress. After C.E.T.A., Meisler began a three-decade career as a NYC Public School Art Teacher. Meisler has received fellowships, grants, and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Light Work, YADDO, The Puffin Foundation, Time Warner, Artists Space, C.E.T.A., the China Institute, and the Japan Society. Her work has been exhibited at the Zillman Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Dia Art Foundation, MASS MoCA, Islip Art Museum, Annenberg Space for Photography, the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New-York Historical Society,Steven Kasher Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in public spaces including Grand Central Terminal, South Street Seaport, Photoville, Vichy Portrait Festival, and throughout the New York City subway system. Her work is in the permanent collections of the American Jewish Congress,ARTPPOOL Budapest, AT&T, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Brooklyn HistoricalSociety, Book Art Museum (Poland), Columbia University, Emory University, Islip Art Museum,the Library of Congress, Musée de la Poste Paris, Smithsonian Institute, University of Iowa, and The Waskomium, and can be found in the artist book collections of Carnegie Mellon, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Chrysler Museum, the Museum of Modern Art NYC, Metronome Library, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Upon retiring from the New York City public schools, Meisler began releasing large bodies of previously unseen work. Her monographs have received international acclaim. A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick (Bizarre, 2014) juxtaposes her zenith of disco photos with images of the burned out yet beautiful neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn in the 1980s. Her second book, Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy ‘70s, Suburbia &The City (Bizarre, 2015), contrasts intimate images of home life on Long Island alongside New York City street and night life. Her latest book New York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco (Parallel Pictures Press 2021) revieals darker sides of disco and takes the viewer into 1980s Bushwick school and street life. Meryl Meisler lives and works in New York City and Woodstock, New York. NIGHTLIFE NYC, 1977-2023 In 1975 Meryl Meisler moved to New York City. Two years later its most notorious and celebrated nightclub, Studio 54, opened its doors. Meisler immersed herself in the nightlife scene and began to make images of Studio 54's colorful pleasure-seekers, along with some of its most noted party-goers such as Andy Warhol. The photographer states, ''When Studio 54 opened, my friend JudiJupiter got us on the guest list as photographers. The doorman took a liking and parted the door for us night after night. Studio 54's fabulous changing décor, DJs, sound system, and incredible crowds of diverse ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities were thrilling.'' Fueled by the excitement of Manhattan's exploding club scene of the late 70s, Meisler photographed fashionable night revelers and celebrities at a number of other hedonistic havens that popped up throughout the City. Legendary clubs such as Copacabana, Paradise Garage, Hurrah, Xenon, GG's Barnum Room, CBGB, and erotic Go-Go bars, provided an endless and diverse array of extravagant subjects immersed in dance and party spectacles. Each venue had its own unique identity, clientele, and energy. Some club-goers who were unable to gain admission to Studio 54 or wanted a change of scenery explored the crowd, vibe, and music at other night spots. Meisler adds, ''On nights off, club owners and cohorts would party at other discos.'' It was on one of these evenings that Meisler photographed Halston and Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell comfortably huddled together on a couch at the club Hurrah. A monogamous relationship, full-time art teaching job, and the onset of the AIDS epidemic prompted the photographer's foray into nightlife culture to dramatically slow down around 1981. Meisler kept her collection of images to herself, as a sort of private visual memoir, until an encounter in 2014 at the drag & burlesque bar BIZARRE, in Bushwick. Many of the club's performers and the scene they created were reminiscent of the freedom and energy that abounded during New York City's nightlife heyday in the late 70s. This emerging scene with its emphasis on inclusion, costumed spectacles, and over-the-top revelry inspired Meisler to exhibit her earlier nightlife photos and, once again, document these venues of unbridled celebration. Dance and performance take center stage in many of Meisler's current images taken at clubs like Bushwick's House of Yes and Bartschland's roaming parties. These new club scenes with drag queens and kings, bodacious burlesque performers, acrobats, magicians, dancers, and disco divas add to the continuum of NYC's nightlife culture — honoring and elevating the dynamic spirit set forth by prior generations of party-goers.
Toby Old
United States
1945
Toby Old was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1945. He started out majoring in biology at Hamline University, then moved on to the University of Minnesota where he trained to be a dentist. At the height of the Vietnam War he was drafted into the Army Dental Core. While serving in North Carolina, he began to explore art history and photography. After a 1976 summer workshop at Apieron Photographic Workshops in Millerton, New York, Old moved to New York City. He began working on his first extended series of the disco scene in 1976-1981. For this body of work, Standard Deviation, he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. In 1981 he received an NEA Survey Grant to document lower Manhattan below Chambers Street, and has continued photographing this section of the city since, includes an extended series on the boxing world. In the late 1980s he moved to upstate New York, where he began to document local events including county fairs and Civil War reenactments. He also began photographing national events such as the Kentucky Derby, Frontier Days, Mardi Gras, and spring break. Toby Old’s book, Times Squared, was offered through the 2005 Subscription Program and is still available for purchase in the Light Work Shop. Old participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 1980. Toby Old captures animation in his photography, depicting both realistic and exciting observations of human life. Drawing on the inspiration of photographers of the 1960s, he has traveled the country photographing in many different environments, including street performances, beaches, fairs, fashion shows, nightclubs, boxing events, parks, and Fourth of July celebrations. His images capture extraordinary moments in human action and social and cultural experiences as they unfold. His photographs are not the kind to be taken in quickly, but images to be examined and scrutinized for details. According to Ted Hartwell, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Old’s work has always been characterized by a solid technical mastery of the medium-format camera as the tool for his wonderfully zany, insightful, and intelligent observations of the American scene.”Source: Light Work
Marsel van Oosten
The Netherland
1967
Dutch-born Marsel van Oosten began his career in advertising. Photography started as a means of escaping fast-paced advertising life, but it was during a trip to Tanzania and close encounters with the animals of the Serengeti, where Marsel developed a passion for wildlife photography. Five years later, Marsel left advertising to become a full-time photographer and hasn’t looked back. Marsel’s images, which feature in galleries and museums across the globe, are famed for their composition, lighting, color and perspective. In his work, he tries to keep his images clean and uncluttered, enabling the viewer to focus on the image’s inherent graphic qualities. As a result, he has been decorated with many prestigious awards, including winning the overall titles for: Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Natural History Museum), Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY), and International Nature Photographer of the Year (2x in the International Photography Awards).Source: Nikon UK After graduating from the Academy of Arts with a BA in Art Direction and Graphic Design, Dutch-born Marsel van Oosten started a career in advertising. As an Art Director at various renowned agencies, he won numerous awards for his work, amongst which are one silver and two gold Lions at the prestigious International Advertising Festival in Cannes. The acclaimed TV commercial he made for a Dutch nature conservation organization is representative of both his creative and emotional approach to communication, as well as for his love for the natural world and his concern for the environment. Taking photographs began as a way for Marsel to escape from life in the fast lane. After a trip to Tanzania, however, things started getting more serious. Close encounters with the animals of the Serengeti fueled his passion for wildlife photography, which soon became his specialty. Five years later, Van Oosten took the plunge and swapped his established advertising career for the precarious life of a nature photographer, a move that demands unyielding devotion and commitment. His images are featured in galleries and museums, are used worldwide in advertising and design, and he is a regular contributor to National Geographic. When Marsel is not traveling, he lives in South Africa, with producer and videographer Daniella Sibbing. Together they run specialized nature photography tours for all experience levels to exciting destinations worldwide.Source: Squiver
Annick Donkers
Annick Donkers is a documentary photographer from Antwerp, Belgium. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Psychology, she decided to specialize in photography. She has received a grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was selected to participate in the Seminar on Contemporary Photography at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City (2008). Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was one of the winners at the Survival International Competition (2015), won an award at the San José Photo Festival in Uruguay (2016), the Sony Awards in UK (2016), the MIFA awards in Russia (2016), the IPA awards in USA (2016), the TIFA awards in Tokyo (2016), received an honorable mention at the Px3 Prix de la Photo in Paris(2016), was selected at Latin American Photography vol.5 (2016), on the cover of Dodho magazine (2016), shortlisted for the Kolga Tbilisi Awards and Athens Photo Festival (2017). She currently lives and works as a freelance photographer in Mexico City.About Lucha Libre Extrema The Lucha Libre Extrema series emerged from a growing interest I had in Mexican professional wrestling. I was soon drawn towards sub-genres of the sport such as Lucha Libre Exótica and Lucha Extrema. This semi-clandestine hardcore genre is currently prohibited in Mexico City because of how dangerous it is, but events still take place outside the capital, notably at a car wash-turned-arena in Tulancingo, the village where El Santo, Mexico’s most famous pro wrestler, was born. The participants receive professional training and are paid a little bit more because of the risks they take. They perform with a variety of weapons: chairs, thumbtacks, wire, and fluorescent lights, turning the ring into a war zone. Yet the community of luchadores “extremos” is closely knit and few outsiders have gained access. Mexico has been a very violent place in recent years. As such, I found it fascinating that people were drawn to the dangerous world of Lucha Libre Extrema and turned my camera to the audience in an attempt to understand their reasons. About Afromexican HealersAt the end of last year my attention was drawn to the coastal region of Guerrero known as Costa Chica, located to the south of Acapulco. This region is home to Mexicans descended from African slaves that identify themselves as being “black”. But outside this region they are little-known and they are currently fighting to be officially recognized by the Mexican State. The Costa Chica is also a place rooted in traditional beliefs that include appearances of trolls, the devil and spirit animals. The legend tells that when a baby is born, a member of the family brings the child to a crossroads up in the mountains where lots of wild animals pass by. The first creature to approach the child will be the child's spirit animal, or tono in Spanish, since there is now a dependency created between child and animal. This means that when the animal is hurt, wounded or dies, the person is too. In the Afromexican communities there are healers that will cure these "animal"-related illnesses, since conventional medicine will not work in these cases. The person is cured with herbs selected by the healers and also according to the needs of the animal. They call these healers curanderos del tono and there are only a small number of them left. I went to the Costa Chica region in an attempt to capture what remains of this Afromexican tradition.
Advertisement
AAP Magazine #40: Portrait
Win a Solo Exhibition in June
AAP Magazine #40: Portrait

Latest Interviews

Barbara Cole and Wet Collodion Photographs
Cole is best known for her underwater photography, but her other studio practice during the cold months in Toronto is an ongoing series of wet collodion photographs. This heavily analog process from the 19th Century is a years-long endeavor of revitalization and experimentation, offering modern day viewers an understanding of what it took to develop photographs in the early days of its invention. Cole has added her own unique take on the process by adding a layer of color in contrast to the usual sepia tones associated with the genre. The resulting wet plate photographs are tactile and dimensional dances between light and shadow, past and present, depicting women in timeless dreamscapes. We asked her a few questions about this specific project
Exclusive Interview with Michael Joseph
I discovered Michael Joseph's work in 2016, thanks to Ann Jastrab. I was immediately captivated by the power of his beautiful black and white photographs from his series 'Lost and Found.' His haunting portraits of young Travelers have stayed with me ever since.
Exclusive Interview with Debe Arlook
Debe Arlook is an award-winning American artist working in photography. Through color and diverse photographic processes, Arlook’s conceptual work is a response to her surroundings and the larger environment, as she attempts to understand the inner and outer worlds of human relationships. Degrees in filmmaking and psychology inform these views.
Orchestrating Light: Seth Dickerman Talks About his Passion for Photographic Printmaking
Seth Dickerman is a master manipulator of the wide spectrum of light densities that reflect off the surface of a photographic print and enter into our field of vision. His singular intent in making prints is to bring out the best an image has to offer, which means giving an image the ability to hold our attention, to engage us, and to allow us to discover something about an image that is meaningful and significant.
Exclusive Interview with Michel Haddi
Photographer and film director, Michel Haddi has photographed many high-profile celebrities while living in the USA including, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, Faye Dunaway, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. He also manages a publishing house, MHS publishing, which publishes his own books. Currently based in London we have asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Sebastien Sardi
In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi, inspired by an article exposing hidden mining-related incidents, embarked on a photography journey. Without formal training, he explored mines and ventured to India's Jharkhand state to document coal miners in Dhanbad, known as the "coal capital." His project, "Black Diamond," captured the lives of people, including men, women, and children, dedicated to coal extraction in grueling conditions.
Exclusive Interview with Debra Achen
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography. Her project 'Folding and Mending' won the September 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked here a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman is a documentary photographer who has who spent the last dozen years working with and photographing the people that live the housing projects in Coney Island. He was the winner of the July and August 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Aya Okawa
Aya is passionate about exploring the natural world and protecting ecosystems and wild landsAll about Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you into this world? Her project The Systems That Shape Us'won the February 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked her a few questions about her life and her work.
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #40 Portrait
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes