Life and Work

Michael Dannenmann

Michael Dannenmann is one of the most important representatives of contemporary portrait photography internationally. His photographs have been published in magazines such as ARTnews, Forbes, Manager Magazine, Vogue, Die Zeit, and Stern. Dannenmann creates expressive portraits of the film, fashion, music, and art world greats. These are pictures that remain in your mind. The fascination of his expressive portraits lies in the photographer's flair for capturing the core character of a person in a matter of seconds – illuminating something personal in a flash. The “decisive moment” in photography. Michael Dannenmann has this intuitive flair.

Michael Dannenmann's portraits are created using an analogue Hasselblad medium format camera. Through the photographer’s command of the camera technology, his visual skill, and his sensitivity, the images gain equilibrium and intensity. He successfully presents the uniqueness of a person’s nature in detail so that his portrait photographs are rooted in traditional portraiture.

There is a masterly interplay of planning and spontaneity. Dannenmann leaves enough space for those having their portrait photographed and merely creates the surrounding environment. The time factor becomes the decisive instrument. Preparing the settings and not to mention setting up the camera – from inserting the film, choosing the correct image setting, the light, all the way to adjusting the focus – all take time. The dialog with the photographer requires patience and trust from his model. The wait allows the person to find themselves. They relax, are completely at one with themselves. This seems to add calmness and thoughtfulness to Dannenmann’s actions. A calmness that is ultimately reflected in his portrait pictures. The look of those being photographed is calm and the shots show an unforced authenticity.

Michael Dannenmann's works can be found in important public and private collections and have been shown at the Fotofestival Obersdorf (2016), the Kunsthalle Osnabrück (2012), and the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2008), among others. An impressive overview of his artistic work can be found in his 2012 photobook Portraits.


1959 born in Stuttgart, DE
1980 Studies of painting at the Kunstakademie Stuttgart, DE
1981 – 1986 Studies of photography at the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund, DE
1987 Ausstellungen in Galerien und Museen
1988 Membership in the Berufsverband Freie Fotografen und Filmgestalter e.V.
1988 Membership in the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie e.V.
1989 one-year stay in London, GB
1990 Opening of the studio in Duesseldorf, DE
1992 – 1997 Lecturer for Photography at the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund, DE
lives and works in Duesseldorf

Works (Selection)

Michael Dannenmann, Bryan Adams, 2013, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Bryan Adams, 2013, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Otto Piene, 2011, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Otto Piene, 2011, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Julian Schnabel, 2010, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Julian Schnabel, 2010, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Norbert Tadeusz, 2010, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Norbert Tadeusz, 2010, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Isabella Rossellini, 2009, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Heinz Mack, 2008, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Pipilotti Rist, 1999, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Moondog, 1992, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Catherine Batcheller, 1987, © © Michael Dannenmann

Solo exhibitions (selection)

2018 Portrait Sittings, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art, Dusseldorf, DE
2017 Schwarzweiss, Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach, DE
Let’s buy it, Ludwiggalerie Schloss Oberhausen, Oberhausen, DE
2016 Portraits, Oberstdorfer Fotogipfel, Oberstdorf, DE
2014 Mies 1:1 Fotografische Ansichten, Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart, Stuttgart, DE
2013 HighLights, Galerie Hilaneh von Kories, Berlin, DE
Michael Dannenmann – Portraits, Vertical Gallery IV – InterContinental, Dusseldorf, DE
2012 Portraits, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Osnabrück, DE
2011 Ladenportraits im Ruhrgebiet, Pixelprojekt – Wissenschaftspark Gelsenkirchen, Gelsenkirchen, DE
2010 Portraits, Deutschlandfunk, Cologne, DE
Macht zeigen, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, DE
1998 Fotografische Portraits, Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf, DE

Group exhibitions (selection)

2017 Galerie fiftyfifty
2015 The Photographer, Kunst- und Kulturzentrum der StädteRegion Aachen, Monschau, DE
Hommage an Michelangelo, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, DE
2009 Künstlerportraits, Art Cologne, Cologne, DE
2008 Fotos schreiben Kunstgeschichte, Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, DE
2007 KIC – Kunst in der Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, DE
2006 International Photo Festival, Xining, CN
2003 Akademie der Künste, Berlin, DE
2002 Die heilige Kuh, Visual Gallery – Photokina, Cologne, DE
Kunstforum – DLR, Berlin, DE
Ich habe einen Traum, Café Einstein, Berlin, DE
2000 Zeit Blicke, Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart, Stuttgart, DE
1999 57th Street Gallery N.Y, New York, US
Stuttgarter Kunstverein, Stuttgart, DE
1998 Schwarz Gesehen, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, DE
American Ballet Theatre Gallery, New York, US



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