Marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, these portraits by New York–based photographer Martin Schoeller (born 1968) were photographed in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Schoeller’s compelling images capture the weathered faces of Jewish men and women who lived through and witnessed the atrocities of the Holocaust, and allow viewers to look into their eyes for traces of the experiences they endured and to be inspired by their resilience and remarkable strength of spirit. Targets of baseless anguish and suffering simply because they were Jewish, their lives were forever altered during the dark years of the Holocaust.
Each photograph offers a portal to the vast legacy of the victims and the survivors.
The portraiture of Martin Schoeller (born 1968) is renowned for its indelible ultra-closeups, with a tone, mood and compositional consistency that have energized the pages of many of America’s and Europe’s most respected publications over the last 20 years.
But these revelatory photographs are just the most recognizable slice of his astonishingly searching, restless oeuvre. Schoeller has now amassed a body of work that defies classification, as he has ventured into all but invisible subcultures, the most current events, breakdowns in social justice, celebrity and several other subcategories of public interest.
As seen collectively in Martin Schoeller: 1995–2019, these images comprise a veritable museum of recent history—a varied, imaginative, buoyant, disciplined and conscientious project that is the work of an inexhaustibly humane outlook.
Close presents 120 portraits of the world's most famous and influential people across the arts and entertainment industries, politics, business and sport—from Julia Roberts and Adele, to Frank Gehry and Marina Abramovic, Barack Obama, Julian Assange and Roger Federer. Between 2005 and 2018 Martin Schoeller (born 1968) photographed his subjects, in his words "to create a level platform, where a viewer's existing notions of celebrity, values and honesty are challenged." Schoeller realized this goal by subjecting his sitters to equal technical treatment: each portrait is a close-up of a face with the same camera angle and lighting. The expressions are consistently neutral, serious yet relaxed, in an attempt to tease out his subjects' differences and capture moments "that felt intimate, unposed." Schoeller's inspiration for Close was the water-tower series of Bernd and Hilla Becher, his ambition to adapt their systematic approach to portraiture. Amid Schoeller's famous subjects are also some unknown and unfamiliar ones, a means to comprehensively make his project an "informal anthropological study of the faces of our time."