Book Review: Enjoy Your Life!
By Emily Davis
Enjoy Your Life! (2017), Juergen Teller’s most recent photography book published by STEIDL takes a new spin on self portraits and masculinity. A german native, Juergen Teller includes himself as dishware in most of the photographs using the English translation of his last name, “plate".
Opposite the title page, Teller sits nude upon a donkey. This outlandish and humorous introduction to Teller and his work sets the tone for the bright and energetic scenes he captures.
Not frightened to show nudity in its rawest form, many pages show men with modest genitalia, wearing stockings and platform heels reminiscent of the disco era. The compositions suggest an interesting commentary on the magnified and exploited masculinity in today's media.
Teller makes a symbolic appearance in almost every picture, either his physical person, or a representation of him as a plate. The subjects holding, caressing, standing upon, or even being displayed on the plates surface show a unique interaction between the subjects and Teller both during the photographic process but also captured as eternal documentation within the image.
Although many of the images seem impulsive and spontaneous, Teller strives to accomplish expressive and atypical visuals, he uses a keen eye for individuality and a clever sense of humorto direct the images and create just the right moment. Though the book features high profile celebrities like Kanye West, Kim Kardashian-West, and Kurt Cobain, the conceptual material presents more interest and appeal.
Bright, fun, fantasy, surreal. Juergen Teller encourages imagination and expansion of artistic tastewhile compiling deeply intrinsic conceptual photos along with anecdotes, written by Teller and others involved with the production of the book. Each is unfiltered and encapsulates the quirk and personality of the writer. Contrasted against the images, the short written memories and stories bring an intimately charming element to the otherwise enthralling book.
Enjoy Your Life! (2017) showcases the organic nature of surrealistic photography and the unabashed expression of Juergen Teller’s vision.