markus klinko & indrani interview

Posted in the Photography Forum

Dany Hermima

United States

#1 Nov 27, 2007
$200,000. When you have a client paying that kind of dough, he or she can basically make any request. Nothing illegal, of course, but if a celebrity decides he or she wants to have a party on the set of a photo shoot for, say, a new album cover—well, that's part of the gig. Markus Klinko and Indrani understand that, and if it happens, they just go with the flow.
There are a number of things to think about when you photograph high-profile people. Along with talent come publicists, managers, agents and sometimes an entourage of friends and wanna-be friends—a lot of "cooks in the kitchen," so to speak.
"A few years back, we seemed to have more of those kind of shoots," Markus comments. "Usher brought like 60 people with him, and we went until five in the morning. It was a little hectic, and we didn"t accomplish everything we wanted to, but you just have to relax into it—it's their shoot, and they're paying for it, and a lot of times, it turns out to be really fun."
"Yeah," Indrani says. "Interestingly enough, we had a shoot with Destiny's Child for Pepsi. Destiny's Child didn't bring anyone, but Pepsi had like 50 people—children, family members—it was funny. We ended up taking a lot of pictures for them with family members and the members of the group, but it's what you do. The company is paying for it, and it's part of the job sometimes. "David Bowie called us out of the blue," adds Indrani, commenting on how she and Markus started to segue their successful fashion photography business into one that included A-list celebrities. "He said he had been watching our career for a few years and wanted to work with us on his new album, Heathen."
The duo had 25 looks to accomplish in one day with Bowie and spent hours with him talking about the concept prior to the shoot. Ideas flew back and forth—photo books and images created by classic photographers like Man Ray were brought into the research process—and eventually, a personal relationship took hold between the three. It was this initial collaborative effort with Bowie that would lead the photo duo to develop what Indrani calls a productive visual exploration with the people they photograph, which these days consists of numerous top celebrity actors and musicians—and their roster keeps growing.
Dany Hermima

United States

#2 Nov 27, 2007
Stars also often bring their preferred hair and makeup artist to the set, "which is fine with us," says Indrani. "We like to work with GK Reid, but when a celebrity brings in their own people, we know they're top notch in the industry, so we're never nervous about anyone's ability."

"Plus," adds Markus, "why would we want to interfere with their own successful chemistry? It only helps us in the end. If they're happy with their own people, then they already start the shoot feeling comfortable."

Creating that comfortable atmosphere is incredibly important in making a photograph. Without that easy feeling between photographer and subject, objectives get lost in the continuous attempt to connect. Most of Klinko and Indrani's work involves in-depth preproduction work, and they delve into a collaborative process with all the key players involved. This process is filled with meetings, phone calls and e-mails about the direction, mood and feeling of the shoot. During this courting period, a natural and personal relationship often develops between them and the celebrity. "By the time the shoot happens," Indrani says, "everyone is familiar and comfortable with each other."

There are those times, however, when a situation like an editorial job allows very little time with a subject and there's no preproduction involved—just a straight portrait. For example, the duo recently had one such job photographing Kate Winslet. "We had a half hour with her, and when she got to our studio, she had a cold and really wanted to get back to her kids at the hotel," says Indrani.

Stars also often bring their preferred hair and makeup artist to the set, "which is fine with us," says Indrani. "We like to work with GK Reid, but when a celebrity brings in their own people, we know they're top notch in the industry, so we're never nervous about anyone's ability."

"Knowing this, we try to make our connection with her on the set and do our best to get her on her way as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the look of the image. I think she She looks beautiful."

The two also were prepared technically and professionally. Says Indrani, "We're lucky to have some hardworking, talented people on our team, and when you work in a partnership like Markus and I do, the responsibilities are divided, so a lot of the pressure and stress is divided as well, which makes for an easier day. Also, we usually tend to both connect with the talent, but sometimes one of us connects better or more easily than the other, and occasionally one of us is dealing with technical issues, so the other one can focus on generating a good feeling on the set and be able to make that spiritual link with the subject. We really try to marry the technical artistry with the emotional aspects of the photograph."

In that union, where skill meets sentiment, the embodiment of Markus and Indrani's ultimate concern with their work flourishes. When the two venture into a project involving a star, they always think about making a ground-breaking, iconic image that defines a place and time in that particular person's career—one that can last forever and be remembered throughout the ages.

One such image, for example, is of Beyoncé Knowles. The shot of her album cover for Crazy in Love became the signature shot of her breakout career and is one of those images etched on our brains. Says Markus, "It was everywhere—on posters, billboards, in magazines and bus stops. Images come and go, but we still get people commenting on that shot and how much they remember it as her emergence into mega-stardom."

"We really try to push the boundaries with a celebrity," adds Indrani. "Most celebrities already come with a look, and we try to open that up to show something true about that person. We experiment with clothes or poses and step away from the cliché of the typical celebrity shot."

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