“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 the UK, earned a degree in 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. Jan's photographic work focuses on the ‘homo ludens’ – the man who learns through play. It is built from an integration of pedagogical theory with his own personal experiences and everyday adventures.
Jan von Holleben’s work has been exhibited throughout the world.
He published more than 20 children and artist books in 16 languages.
Jan lives and works in Berlin/ Germany.