“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 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.

Otherwise he greatly fancies loads of cups of fresh herbal tea, Bircher Müsli, colourful socks, his bike, long swims and walking in the mountains, Yo yo yo!



Born 1977 in Germany.
Grew up in the Southern German countryside.
Lives and works in Berlin and anywhere else in the universe.




GOLD: Lead Awards, Science Book of the Year, Florence Biennale Award for Photography, PX3 Photography Award, Best CP Award, Art for Aid Award, Young Portfolio Award, Magenta Award, Audi / Next Level Photographic Award, Unicum Award, Backlight Award
others: Lead Awards, The Observer Hodge Photographic Award, Hyeres Festivale de la Photographie, Lens Culture Award , Aesthetica Award, Idn + graniph Universe Award, Photographery Masters Cup, PHE07 Best Photography Books, Cedefop Award, International Photography Award, Festimage, Photoreview Award, London Photographic Award, FotoSalon Award, SONY world photography (shortlisted)



regulars: Die Zeit, Spiegel, Spiegel Wissen, Dein Spiegel, DU Magazin, Geo, Geolino, Zeit Magazin, Dogs, Migros Magazin, Eltern, Eltern Family, BISS, Philosophie
others: Dummy, Adbusters, Art Review, Zeit Campus, Emotion, Neon, Creative Review, Dazed& Confused, Day 4, Chrismon, Bant, Brigitte, Popular Mechanics, Dumbo Feather, Lucky, DPI, Focus, Loved, IDN, Irish Times, Diva, Label, Liberation, Max, Next Level, Ojodepez, Photo Review, Photography, Repubblica, Rojo, Real Simple, Style 100, The Face, The Sunday Review, Sleazenation, SZ-Magazin, Vice, Vogue Girl



Forthcoming many many more books
2018 Meine wilde Wut, Beltz&Gelberg, Weihnheim Basel
2017 Und was wird jetzt mit mir?, Gabriel Verlag, Stuttgart
MonsterHelden, Beltz&Gelberg, Weihnheim Basel
Wenn ich Kanzlerin von Deutschland wär, Gabriel Verlag, Stuttgart
2016 WWWas?, Gabriel Verlag, Stuttgart
2015 Wie heißt dein Gott eigentlich mit Nachnamen?, Gabriel Verlag, Stuttgart
Konrad Wimmel ist da!, Gabriel Verlag, Stuttgart
2014 Kinderlieder aus Deutschland und Europa, Carus Verlag & Gabriel Verlag, Stuttgart
Does that happen to everyone?, Gestalten Verlag, Berlin
2013 DENKSTE?!, Gabriel Verlag (Thienemann Verlag), Stuttgart
Kriegen das eigentlich alle?, Gabriel Verlag (Thienemann Verlag), Stuttgart
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.


selected solo exhibitions


2016 Homo Ludens, Tulla Galerie, Mannheim
2015 Willst Du mit mir segeln gehen?, Flensburger Schiffahrtsmuseum
Magic Bodø, ParkART Bodø, Norway
2014 The Amazing Analogue: How we play photography, Hove Museum & Art Gallery
2012 Permanent Installation “Lilly & Jonathan”, John Radcliff Children Hospital, Oxford
The Snowbed & selected works, DIPLOMAT Galerie Philadelphia
2011 Spiel mit – 4 collaborative projects, Galerie Foth / Freiburg
2010 Nur gespielt, Städtische Galerie Friedrichsbau, Bühl
White Lakes, pool gallery, Berlin
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


and many many many group exhibitions

(a complete and detailed CV is available upon request)