Sunday, February 7, 2010

Case Study: Markus Klinko & Indrani

Two of photography's biggest talents...Markus Klinko and Indrani - the most famous creative duo in fashion and celebrity photography today. Their imagery has been described as "a powerful dream vision – seamless, erotic, unforgettable" and it truly is. They even have a TV series coming called 'Double Exposure' based on the behind the scenes of their celebrity shoots. This case study is a tribute to the innovative style of hi end digital photography that this dynamic duo have produced over the last decade.

Markus and Indrani then created award-winning covers for Beyonce’s debut ‘Dangerously in Love’, Mariah Carey’s ‘Emancipation of Mimi’ and Mary J Blige’s ‘The Breakthrough’, which all became top selling albums of the year and their work is seen in numerous publications including Vanity Fair and Vogue.

Markus Klinko was born in Europe and spent his earlier years training for a career as a classical musician. Then one day he started taking pictures. He never stopped. The very same artistic sensibilities and disciplines he drew upon as a musician he began applying to his visual compositions. Indrani on the other hand was born in India and raised in Canada. A former fashion model with over a decade’s worth of experience in front of the camera, Indrani can best be described as the yin of Klinko’s yang. Sharp angles and finely targeted light define the hip photographic imagery. In addition to the brilliant lighting and retouching, Klinko and Indrani’s brilliant career owes much to their well-tuned partnership with celebrity stylist GK Reid.

Their career gained serious momentum in 2000 when the photographers created an editorial portfolio for the The London Sunday Times. Shortly after that, they were approached by supermodel Iman, who wanted them to shoot a book cover, and her husband, David Bowie, who wanted cover art for his album Heathen. Today, Klinko and Indrani call Iman and Bowie their creative godmother and godfather.

Before starting photography, sometime in 2002, we came across this masterpiece of an image of Latetia Casta(One of Sid's favourite supermodel) for, and after a bit of googling we came across Markus Klinko & Indrani. Their work since then was mindblowing, and it just gets better and better every year. They are the icons of the digital photography era.

The Lighting

Creative photo-illustration concepts often require an equally creative, not to mention flexible, lighting system capable of producing, and perhaps improve upon, any lighting situation you might ever encounter. This is where the name broncolor enters the picture. Markus is a loyal user of Broncolor lighting and its modifiers, especially the Broncolor Para330FB and the Broncolor Pulso-Flooter, a Fresnel-type housing producing broad, stage-style lighting. In his words..."This (Para)umbrella, with its 11-foot diameter spread, delivered an amazing volume of light. The umbrella literally bathed the entire studio in a soft, luscious light. Broncolor’s Flooters, for instance, produce a rather handsome light that I love to use for highlighting a models cheekbones and other key features while broncolor’s strip lights are ideal for side-lighting purposes.”

You can see the Broncolor flooter (on boom stand) and striplites being used outdoors in this video:

The Retouching

This is where the craze of 'hi end' retouching started. Beauty retouching at its best can be seen from the early works of this duo. Perfect skin texture, perfectly alligned and symmetrical backgrounds, perfect flow of the hair and the dress. That is exactly their slick images represent, PERFECTION! In the early days, they loved creating fantasy backgrounds, and we hate to admit, sometimes they just went overboard and crossed the thin line between reality and fantasy where they always aim for. But, that being was an evolving process for them, and played an important role in what they are NOW.

The Gear

Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID 6x7cm medium-format SLR with a Leaf Aptus-II 10 digital back for the Mamiya, which produces 56-megapixel images. The camera is mounted on a customized two-handed grip for the camera with ivory handles shaped specifically for his hands and view finder cover flap made from snake skin leather. During film days, their main camera was a Fuji GX680.

You can take a look at their portfolio on their official website

Disclaimer: All photographs and videos used in this article are copyright of their respective owners.

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