Esteemed German photographer Juergen Teller has announced a new series of photographs focussing on the experiences of kids cared for by Demelza Hospice Care for Children in Kent and south east London. The work has been produced to raise awareness for a charity which seeks to provide both specialist care and emotional support for children living with terminal illnesses and their families.
“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,” says Teller in a press statement accompanying the announcement. “I photographed the children as honestly as I could without shying away from the brutal truth of what I was confronting.”
Demelza Kids is the result of one of contemporary photography’s biggest names making repeated trips to several of the institutions that Demelza themselves run, where we’re told he “dedicated much of his personal time to getting to know the children and their families,” even making off-site house visits when children were unable to travel in for the day.
Initially working with an SLR camera, Juergen eventually swapped it out for his phone, allowing for a sensitive integration with the daily ongoings of his hospices.
“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,” says the photographer. “Working with Demelza has moved me deeply.”
The full series of photographs he took during his time with the children and staff of Demelza Hospice Care will be on display at central London auction house, Bonhams, between 10 – 16 April.