Andreas Gursky

German photographer Andreas Gursky has been taking pictures of people and places for the past five decades. His record-breaking auction prices have made him one of the most expensive photographers in the world.

2 min read

In 2007, Andreas was denied permission to travel to Pyongyang, North Korea. But then he spotted an advert in a newspaper for a group tour to the city and decided to re-apply.

"I saw the ad and I went to Pyongyang," he explains in a 2022 interview with the Amorepacific Museum of Art.

"I didn't tell them that I was a famous photographer. I told them I wanted to see gymnastic performances of the Arirang Festival from one perspective."

During his stay in Pyongyang, Andreas was escorted by guides.

"After five days together, we became almost close friends, and when they took me to the airport to say goodbye, they hugged and cried. It was a very moving and personal experience."

This adventure was not out of character for Andreas. Since the 1980s, he's taken huge, super-detailed pictures of people and places. In fact, Andreas had always had a connection to photography.

Andreas Gursky, Pyongyang IV, 2007

Andreas Gursky, Pyongyang V, 2007

Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1955, Andreas grew up with his parents, who ran a commercial photography studio. As a kid, he moved to Essen and then Düsseldorf after that – making the crossover from East to West Germany.

In the late '70s, Andreas studied at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and worked as a cab driver. He tried to get work as a photojournalist – but without much success. So, drawn to the freedom that creative expression offered, Andreas turned to art.

In 1980, he started at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf with tutors Bernd Becher and Kasper König. He became part of The Dusseldorf School of Photography alongside artists such as Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth, Axel Hütte, and Thomas Ruff.

Soon enough, Andreas was changing the landscape of documentary photography. And his work has never stopped evolving since. Today, with record-breaking auction results, he's one of the most expensive photographers in the world.

I am never interested in the individual, but in the human species and its environment

Andreas Gursky, Tokyo, 2017

Andreas Gursky, Bauhaus, 2020



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