Fashion Photographer Klaus Mitteldorf Captures the Chaos of Modern Identity

These images evoke a world of endless distraction

Fashion Duo, Paris, 2014 © Klaus Mitteldorf
Berlin Face, Berlin, 2013 © Klaus Mitteldorf
Tati Tricolore Duo, São Paulo, 2015 © Klaus Mitteldorf
The Kiss Duo, Milan, 2013 © Klaus Mitteldorf
Autogram Duo, Berlin, 2014 © Klaus Mitteldorf

“It’s very tense. People wait for hours to see their idols,” observes Klaus Mitteldorf, who took this photo (Autogram Duo) of autograph-seekers queuing to meet the actress Jennifer Connelly at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival. The Brazilian-born Mitteldorf, 62, whose latest book, Next, comes out this month, uses digital manipulation to represent his anonymous subjects’ imagined internal lives. “I try to create an identity for them,” he says, explaining that this chaotic scene, layered upon itself several times, reminded him of “a fight.” Though Mitteldorf makes a living as a fashion photographer, he has experimented with this technique since the 1980s, when altering photographs involved scissors and glue, and his latest project has an almost anti-aesthetic quality. Lacking any obvious focal point, these images may frustrate and even exhaust the eye—reflecting, Mitteldorf says, the anxiety and divided attention of our media-frenzied age.

Klaus Mitteldorf: Next

For over 35 years, Brazilian photographer Klaus Mitteldorf has been at the forefront of fashion and fine-art photography. With "Next," Mitteldorf eschews traditional forms while radically recasting everyday urban scenes into vibrant, graphically layered images that recall the pioneering works of László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray.