Gillespe Wayne
© 2024 Martin Schoeller
Close Up

“A photographic close-up is perhaps the purest form of portraiture, creating a confrontation between the viewer and the subject that daily interaction makes impossible, or at least impolite. In a close-up, the impact stems solely from the static subject’s expression or apparent lack thereof, so the viewer is challenged to read a face without the benefit of the environmental cues we naturally use to form our interpersonal reactions.

After seeing Bernd and Hilla Becher’s water tower series in 1991, I was inspired by the idea of photographing a large group of subjects in the exact same style. The pictures in my Close Up series have all been taken from similar angles and with the same equipment, but here I have tried to bring out personality and capture individuality in a search for a flash of vulnerability and integrity. The greatest challenge in taking these images lies in the attempt to arrest the subtle moment that flickers between expressions, movements of which the subject is unaware. Like most portrait photographers, I aim to record the instant the subject is not thinking about being photographed, striving to get beyond the practiced facial performance, reaching for something unplanned. While trying to be as objective as possible, I acknowledge that every gesture is still an act of artifice. Familiar faces are treated with the same levels of scrutiny as the un-famous. The unknown and the too-well-known meet on a level platform that enables comparison, where a viewer’s existing notions of celebrity, value, and honesty are challenged.”
– Martin Schoeller

Above is a small selection of Martin’s ongoing series, ‘Close Up.’ Martin has photographed individuals in the same stylistic consistency for over 25 years, and continues to expand this project. Over 3,000 subjects have sat in front of the scrutiny of his camera. 

2020, Close Up, Camera Work, Berlin, Germany
2020, Works, NRW Forum, Dusseldorf, Germany
2019, Up Close, Ostlicht. Gallery for Photography, Vienna, Austria
2018, Close, Camera Work, Berlin, Germany
2018, Big Heads, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2018, Close Up, Forma Galleria, Milan, Italy
2015, Up Close, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden
2013, Close Up, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, Washington, USA
2012, Close Up, Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Florida, USA
2012, Close Up, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
2010, Close Up, National Portrait Gallery, Parkes, Australia
2008, Close Up, Hasted Hunt, New York, New York, USA
2007, Close Up, Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA
2007, Close Up, Bernard Toale, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2007, Close Up, Griffin Museum, Winchester, Massachusetts, USA
2006 Close Up, Brancolini, Florence, Italy
2006, Close Up, Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2006, Close Up, Hasted Hunt, New York, New York, USA
2005, Close Up, Forma Galleria, Milan, Italy
2005, Close Up, Camera Work, Berlin, Germany

Steidl, 2020

Steidl, 2018

Close Up
First edition - out of print
teNeues, 2005
Foreword by David Remnick, The New Yorker

Selected Press
Martin Schoeller Captures the World’s Most Famous with Startling Intimacy, Artsy, USA
Martin Schoeller on Intimate Portraiture, National Geographic, USA
Martin Schoeller: ‘Close Up’, The New York Times, USA
Ready for their extreme close-up, Los Angeles Times, USA
Up close and impersonal, The Boston Globe, USA
Sizing Up Celebrities, Daily News, USA
Big Portraits of Big Names at Art Miami, The Wall Street Journal, USA
Martin Schoeller by Kris Wilton, ArtInfo, USA
Ganz nah dran - der Fotograf Martin Schoeller, Wochenend-Journal: Bücher, Germany
“Meine Fotos lügen etwas weniger” , Der Tagesspiegel, USA
Mamiya Honors Tomorrow’s Pros, Photo District News, USA
Te Dicht op de huid, BLVD., USA
De Hypnotisuer Martin Schoeller, Zone02, Luxembourg
“Ich will Offenheit”, Der Tagesspiegel, Germany
Candid camera: Close up with the stars, The Sunday Telegraph, USA
Martin Schoeller, The New Yorker, USA
Der Bilder Stürmer, tvdigital, Germany
Stars hinter der Kamera, Artinvestor, Germany
“Alles Fotos lügen”, Galore, Germany
Face Time, Entertainment Weekly, USA
Close Up, The Globalist, USA
Martin Schoeller, Communication Arts, USA
Getting a Big Head, Life, USA
Die Galerie der Legenden, Spiegel, Germany
Der Kopfjäger, Stern, Germany
So dicht sehen Sie die nie wieder, Bild, Germany
Portreler, Esquire, Turkey
Close-Ups, Esquire, USA
TETE-à-tête, Vogue, France
Art, Grand Opening, Optimum, France