Gerd Ludwig was born in Alsfeld, Germany. Initially he studied German literature, political science, and physical education at the University of Marburg, but interrupted his studies to travel in Scandinavia and North America while supporting himself with jobs as a bricklayer, sailor, gardener, and dishwasher. After his return to Germany, he studied photography for five years with Professor Otto Steinert at the Folkwangschule (now Folkwang University of the Arts), graduating in 1972 with a degree in Photo Design from the University of Essen. The following year, he co-founded VISUM, Germany’s first photographer-owned photo agency. In 1975, he moved to Hamburg and began working for Geo, Stern, Spiegel, Zeit-Magazin, Time, and Life, as well as photographing advertising campaigns.
Gerd relocated to New York 1984 and continued to photograph for major international publications. In the early 1990s, he signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic magazine, focusing on environmental issues, and the social changes in Germany and Eastern Europe. This work resulted in the publication of his book, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic, and The Long Shadow of Chernobyl, and iPad App published in 2011. His ongoing coverage of post Soviet Russia has garnered his distinction as being the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region.
Gerd’s work beautifully captures all the complexities life has to offer. Whether it is the sweetness of a hug and a kiss or the poignancy of children born with serious birth defects, his photography resonates with a full scale of emotion. By combining strong composition, socio-economic content, and a journalistic style, Ludwig creates images that broaden the mind and touch the soul.
Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd Ludwig is represented by the exclusive INSTITUTE for Artist Management. While he continues to work for National Geographic magazine, he photographs personal projects; exhibits his photographs in museums, galleries and festivals, such as the Perpignan Visa pour L’Image; lectures at universities; and conducts workshops internationally. Gerd is a veteran of the renowned A Day in the Life book series, occasionally shoots advertising, and has won numerous photographic awards, including the IPA’s 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year.