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Barbara Klemm

Portraits of Artists

“I like to make portraits of people in their environment. It shows a part of their life, what they have to do with and what they are like. To do that, you need the right amount of distance, the same as for a conversation.” Barbara Klemm

Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Simone de Beauvoir, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Madonna and Alfred Hitchcock are just some of the major personalities of whom Barbara Klemm has created portraits. With her highly-regarded pictures, socially critical features, and her sure, unassuming gaze, she has become one of the best-known photographers in Germany. Her portraits speak an unambiguous language which is sensitive and respectful; we can sense the gentle confidence which exists between the person being portrayed and the photographer. In this way, unforced, authentic pictures full of tension are created pictures which pull the viewer in and encourage him or her to discover the uniqueness and the utter humanity of the person illustrated.

“I always try to take myself out, not to dominate. I try to give the person I have to do with the chance to behave in the way that makes him feel comfortable. It’s always a balancing act between us.”