Demelza invited Teller to visit our hospices in Sittingbourne and Eltham to document the crucial, life-enhancing work we do with local babies, children and young people who have terminal conditions and are in need of support.
Teller made multiple trips to the hospices and dedicated much of his personal time to getting to know the children and their families, sometimes visiting them at their homes if they were unable to travel. Initially taking his professional SLR camera, Teller quickly swapped to his less-intrusive mobile phone so that he could integrate himself into the hospices as sensitively as possible.
Juergen Teller says of Demelza Kids: “I approached this project as I do with any other: the same respect, directness and honesty – how I truly felt it should be done – the way I might photograph a portrait of a friend, a celebrity, a landscape scene or my own children. I photographed the children as honestly as I could without shying away from the brutal truth of what I was confronting.”
“What struck me most was the overwhelmingly warm response from the parents and how thankful they were. To see and feel the parents’ pure love, patience, care and the challenges they face was the most amazing and touching experience. Working with Demelza has moved me deeply.”
Ryan Campbell CBE, Chief Executive of Demelza, says: “Demelza provides hospice care for children with terminal conditions, but there is so much more involved with what we do than those words convey – our work is about life, not death. The images in Demelza Kids convey it much better. There is more joy, laughter and fun than there is sadness. Children are children; the children we have the privilege to work with are amazing and inspiring, and that is why we have partnered with Juergen Teller. These families want to be seen, not hidden away and pitied.”
Juergen will be exhibiting his work to raise awareness for the specialist care and emotional support Demelza provides for hundreds of children with terminal conditions and their families.
Ralph Taylor, Bonhams’ Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, has said of the exhibition: “Juergen Teller is one of the most influential and relevant photographers today. It is an honour to have his new work on show at Bonhams, especially as it highlights the work of such an extraordinary charity. These are images that will long live on in the mind.”
Demelza Kids by Juergen Teller will be on display at Bonhams, New Bond Street, Private opening of the exhibition by invitation, Tuesday 9th April.
Public viewing, Wednesday 10th - Monday 15th April (closed on Saturday) 9.00-5.30. Please check Bonhams website for Sunday opening times.
For more information, please visit: www.demelza.org.uk/juergen-teller or www.bonhams.com/juergenteller/