Araki Teller, Teller Araki: Raw, Intimate, and Sensual

Two pillars of contemporary photography, two genres of subversion, now reunited in one collaborative project.


WordsHenri Robert

Juergen Teller, ‘Araki Number One’, Tokyo 2004 © Juergen Teller

They’re not of the same generation, nor of the same culture, however something draws them together and amplifies their mutually provocative style. In 2014, Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller came together for the project Araki Teller, Teller Araki. The collaboration gave way to an exhibition organised by OstLicht Gallery in Vienna and the publication of a work comprising over 300 photographs, as well as texts written by each artist about the practice of the other. 


Between intimacy and exhibitionism

According to Rebekka Reuter, curator at OstLicht Gallery, ‘What they have in common is a quite strange approach to reality, direct and intense’. This publication brings together the two artists through their radical vision of artistic practice and their insatiable thirst for images which reflect their personal experience of the world.

While Nobuyoshi Araki (1940) and Juergen Teller (1964) do not belong to the same generation, and grew up in different environments, they share a style of storytelling which can be summed up in a few words, ‘what is at the heart of their work is a spiritual and physical ambivalence towards human existence’. When we try to analyse their visual language, German photographer Juergen Teller explains that he doesn’t know how it operates, ‘the camera is like a car for me, it brings me from A to B.’ However his signature style is crystal clear and present in every one of his images, sensual, raw, uncomfortable, yet we might be able to use this same set of descriptors for the work of Nobuyoshi Araki.

The book, published by the independent publishing house eyesencia founded by Araki and Hisako Motoo in 1998, allows the two photographers to come together under one narrative banner at the frontier between intimacy and exhibitionism. 


Araki Teller, Teller Araki (2014), a book by Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller released by the publishing house eyesencia.

Juergen Teller, ‘Woo Nr. 61’, 2013 © Juergen Teller

Nobuyoshi Araki, ‘Last by Leica’, 2012-2014 © Nobuyoshi Araki

‘Araki with Leica’, photo: Peter Coeln

Nobuyoshi Araki, ‘Last by Leica’, 2012-2014 © Nobuyoshi Araki

Juergen Teller, ‘Woo Nr. 157’, 2013 © Juergen Teller

‘Woo Nr. 41’, 2013 © Juergen Teller