“I once ruled the worlds. Not just one, but many. I ruled them with mirrors and lenses. I ruled them with light and shadow and time. Sometimes I ruled with a trick of the eye. Through my camera, an entire cosmos took shape, and each world within it seemed to operate by a certain unfamiliar logic, like a sort of magical clockwork.”

Born in 1977 in Cologne and brought up in the southern German countryside, Jan von Holleben lived most of his youth in an alternative commune and identifies a strong connection between the development of his photographic work and the influence of his parents, a cinematographer and child therapist. At the age of 13, he followed his father’s photographic career by picking up a camera and experimenting with all sorts of „magical tricks“, developing his photographic imagination and skills with friends and family and later honing his technique in commercial settings. After pursuing studies in teaching children with disabilities at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Freiburg, he moved to London, earned a degree in the Theory and History of Photography at Surrey Institute of Art and Design, and became submerged within the London photographic scene, where he worked as picture editor, art director and photographic director. He quickly set up two photographic collectives, Young Photographers United and photodebut, followed more recently by the Photographer’s Office. His body of photographic work focusing on the ‘homo ludens’ – the man who learns through play, is itself built from a playful integration of pedagogical theory with his own personal experiences of play and memories of childhood.

Jan von Holleben’s work has been exhibited internationally and published widely throughout the world.

His favourite collaborators are: his friends and any pirates, fairies, dragons, monsters and punks that are about. Also the sun behind some tiny clouds, Zeit Magazin, Neon Magazine Dazed&Confused, Geo and Steidl Publishers.

Otherwise he greatly fancies loads of cups of green tea, Bircher Müsli, colourful socks & sneakers, his bike and walking in the mountains, Yo yo yo!




1977 Cologne, Germany.
Lives and works in London, Berlin and Sasbach am Kaiserstuhl.




2010 Lens Culture Award – Honorable Mention / San Francisco
2009 Aesthetica Award – Runner up / London
Unicum Award – Best Ad / Bochum
Lead Award – Auszeichnung / Hamburg
2008 Backlight Artist’s Residency, Finland
Bronze – Idn + graniph Universe Award / Tokyo
Nomination – Joop Swart Master Class, Amsterdam
2007 Florence Biennale Award for Photography / Florence
Photographery Masters Cup/ London-Beverly Hills
PHE07 Best Photography Books of 2007 for ‘Dreams of Flying’/ Madrid
Gold – PX3 Photography Award / Paris
Gold – Best CP Award / Munich
Finalist – Cedefop Award / Thessaloniki
Gold – Art for Aid Award / Amsterdam
2006 International Photography Award / Los Angeles
Pilsner Urquell Ambassador for German Photography / Cologne
Young Portfolio Award / Kiyosato
Free Range Photographic Ambassador / London
Magenta Award / Toronto
Honours – Hyeres Festivale de la Photographie / Hyeres
Gold – Lead Award / Hamburg
Festimage / Chaves
Photoreview Award / Langhorne
2004 Audi / Next Level Photographic Award / London
London Photographic Award / London
The Observer Hodge Photographic Award / London
International Photography Award / Los Angeles
1998 FotoSalon Preis / Kirchzarten




2000 – 2002 BA (Hons) Photography (Theory and History) – SIAD University, Farnham
1999 – 2000 Studies in Teaching Children with Disabilities – Pädagogische Hochschule, Freiburg
1997 – 2000 Photographic Apprentice – Prisma Productions, Freiburg
1997 Baccalaureate Diploma (A-Levels) – MSG, Breisach




2007- Founder ‘The Photographer’s Office’ /
2005-2007 Director of Photography at POCKO People
2003-2005 Director of Photography DIVA Magazine / London
2002-2008 Founder and Director ‘photodebut’ /
2001 Artistic Director and Managing Director ‘Young Photographers United’ /




regulars: Die Zeit, Spiegel Wissen, Chrismon, Neon, Creative Review, Dazed& Confused, Diva, Day 4, Dummy, Emotion, Geo, Geolino, Zeit Magazin, Zeit Campus
others: Adbusters, Art Review, Bant, Brigitte, Dumbo Feather, DPI,  GeoLino, IDN, Irish Times, Label, Liberation, Max, Next Level, Ojodepez, Photo Review, Photography, Repubblica, Rojo, Style 100, The Face, The Sunday Review, Sleazenation, SZ-Magazin, Vice, Vogue Girl


solo exhibitions


2010 Nur gespielt, Städtische Galerie Friedrichsbau, Bühl
White Lakes, pool gallery, Berlin, collaborative works of Michelle Jezierski and Jan von Holleben
Best of 000-010, Gesto, Porto
2009 Mutatis Mutandis, Farmani Gallery, New York
Liebesorte, c/o Berlin
2008 It’ll happen here, Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta
Dreams of Flying, Graniph, Sydney
Dreams of Flying, BZ Galerie, Freiburg
Kleines Glück Grosses Spiel, UNO Gallery, Stuttgart
The Snowbed, Radialsytem, Berlin*
2007 wir werden immer grösser, Galerie Robinson, Paris*
wir werden immer grösser , Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, New York*
11 -21, NeunPlus, Berlin (book)
Dreams of Flying, V&A Museum of Childhood, London
2006 Dreams of Flying, Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, New York (book)
2005 Dreams of Flying, Nogoodwindow, Paris
2001 The Apricot, Kunstverein Kirchzarten,  Kirchzarten
2000 The Mystery of…, Jos Fritz, Freiburg
Punkt B, Hans Bodirsky, Freiburg
1999 Madia Pradesh- India’98, Hans Bodirsky, Oberrotweil
Jansichten, Spitalkirche, Breisach


selected group exhibitions


2011 Slippy Floor, Pavlovs Dog, Berlin
The pleasure is all mine, Finch&Ada, New York
2010 Why we love Photography, HOST Gallery, London
11-21 Youth in photographs – a dialogue, Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, Darmstadt
2009 Slideluck Potshow, Santa Fe
DayFour, You can’t always get what you want, London
Itchy Scratchy, Permanent Gallery, Brighton
Once upon a time, Hereford Photography Festival
VisualLeader, Haus der Fotografie Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
Microhumanoids, Galerie Baer, Dresden
Flash Forward, Monte Clark Gallery, Toronto (catalogue)
Focus, T & P Fine Art Gallery, Philadelphia
Tickle Attack, Fotofestiwal 2009, Lodz Art Center, Lodz
I want to be happy, UNO Gallery, Stuttgart
2008 Unseen Photography, Backlit Gallery and Studios, Nottingham
Slideluck Potshow, McCarren Park Pool, NYC
Backlight, International  Photography Triennale, Tampere *
A Looking Glass Eye, Claire de Rouan Staircase, London
Summershow Foto8, Host Gallery, London
International Contemporary Floating Print-out Exhibition, Székesfehérvar
Backstage Puristen, + Christian Hoedl, Oona Galerie, Berlin
Young and Emerging Artists, CGU Art Galleries, Claremont/ CA (catalogue)
Querdenker, Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, Darmstadt (catalogue)
Eröffnungsausstellung, Dummy Galerie, Berlin
2007 6 Biennale Internationale dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence (catalogue)
Kinderleicht lernen, Liederhalle, Stuttgart
Photovoice Auction 2007, Reuters, London (catalogue)
Art for Aid, Unicef & Sothebys, Amsterdam (catalogue)
Und#2, Ferenbalm-Gurbrue Station, Karlsruhe
Young Portfolio Acquisitions2006, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art,
Kiyosato (catalogue)
2006 Chance, Agnes B, London (catalogue) *
VisualLeader, Haus der Fotografie Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (catalogue) *
Peeping Tom, Galerie Gana-Beaubourg, Paris
Slices of Life, Ferenbalm-Gurbrue Station, Karlsruhe
Flash Forward, Monte Clark Gallery, Toronto (catalogue)
Photovoice, Annual Fundraiser Auction, Reuters, London (catalogue)
Petites Morts, Glass House Gallery, London
2005 All I want for Christmas, Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art, New York
2004 Audi / Next Level Photographic Award, Audi Forum, London
Photodebut – It Went Dark and I Saw, London College of Communication, London
The Observer Hodge Photographic Award, The Reading Room, London
DAY4- Home, Homebar, London
Photodebut, 4 Corners Gallery, London
2003 Reduced, Century Gallery, London
Photodebut, 18 Charlotte Road, London
2002 The Unscene Awards, Catto Contemporary, London
F.light, The Well at The Old Truman Brewery, London (catalogue)
Rhythm Indigo, Dust, London (catalogue)
2001, Tate Modern and Photographers Gallery, London
Public Living Rooms, Instant, Karlsruhe
Mostra-T, Plastic / Conventino & Plastic & Galleria d’Arte Allidoro, Pesaro (catalogue)
Contemporary Photography, West End Centre, Aldershot
2000 Passagen und Uebergaenge Art Award, Friedrichsbau, Bühl (catalogue)

* touring exhibitions




Forthcoming ‘Things that had to happen – on John Baldessari, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen
2011 Adventures in Editora, The Photographer’s Office, Berlin
2010 HO HO HO, The Photographer’s Office, Berlin
2009 Mutatis Mutandis, The Photographer’s Office, London
Dreams of Flying vol.2, The Photographer’s Office, London
2008 Träume vom Fliegen, Hoffmann & Campe, Hamburg
The Snowbed , The Photographer’s Office, London
2007 11-21, The Photographer’s Office, London
1585 Deutsche Börse + Xchange, Corps, Düsseldorf
2006 Dreams of Flying, The Photographer’s Office, London
And various artist’s books, catalogues and publications.