Martin Schoeller was born in Munich, Germany, in 1968. Growing up in Germany, he was deeply influenced by August Sander's countless portraits of the poor, the working class, and the bourgeoisie, as well as by Bernd and Hilla Becher, who spawned a school known as the Becher-Schüler.
Schoeller worked as an assistant to Annie Leibovitz from 1993 to 1996. He advanced as a freelance photographer, producing portraits of people he met on the street. The work gained recognition for its strong visual impact and since 1998, his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, and W, among other publications.
Schoeller joined Richard Avedon as a contributing portrait photographer at The New Yorker in 1999, where he continues to produce his award-winning images. His portraits are exhibited and collected internationally, including in several solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States and are included in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. In addition, he has had many solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe and group exhibitions in the U.S.
Schoeller's honors include the 1999-2008 Communication Arts Photo Annual; the 1998-2008 American Photography Photo Annual; the 2001-2008 Photo District News Photo Annual; the 2008 Best Portrait Award from American Photo Images of the Year; Photojournalism Finalist from the American Society of Magazine Editors; National Magazine Awards for "The Interpreter" in The New Yorker; Photography Cover Finalist from the Society of Publication Designers for "American Gangster" in Entertainment Weekly; 2006 Best Celebrity Cover, Second Place, Magazine Publishers of America for "Steve Carell," in Premiere magazine; the 2004 Gold Medal from the Society of Publication Designers for "Tigers of the Snow: Three Generations of Great Climbing Sherpas" in Outside magazine; National Magazine Awards: Photo Portfolio/Essay; American Society of Magazine Editors for "Tigers of the Snow: Three Generations of Great Climbing Sherpas" in Outside magazine; 2002 Silver Medal from the Society of Publication Designers for "Hip Hop Portfolio" in The New Yorker; 2001 Gold Medal from the Society of Publication Designers for "Sports Portfolio" in The New Yorker; 2000 Silver Medal from the Society of Publication Designers for "Cheerleaders" in Rolling Stone; and Best New Talent, Life magazine Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards.
He lives and works in New York City.