Fashion photographers who photoshop have come under fire for wanton dismemberment, cinched hip bones, overly smoothed faces and whatever other crimes against aesthetics you can think of. But flamboyant lenscouple Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri use photo manipulation to convey the strength and sensuality of women.
Markus became a photographer 18 years ago, after decades as a classical harpist, and met then-model Indrani — “the hottest of them all” — two weeks later. The two have been making fantastical photographs ever since, with Indrani, 38, directing and Markus, age indeterminate, popping the shutter. They spoke with The Daily (Indrani from Paris, where she was attending a screening of her film starring Daphne Guinness) about their new coffee table book of celebrity portraits, “ICONS.”
Your style focuses heavily on photo manipulation. Why do you like that high-production style?
Markus: Because we can and because it’s cool. We really like to walk the fine line between fantasy and reality. People think all of it is done on the computer, but we use all sorts of tools, lighting, setting up the shot right. What really counts is how we capture the soul of a person.
Indrani: We find it to be more true when you let the subject move and dance than to be worrying about every shot being perfect. Then in post[-production] we’ll composite our favorite elements from different frames.
You shoot mostly women. What’s special about that to you?
Markus: I’m a great defender of womens’ shapes. I get very upset with model agencies that force girls who are already skinny and tall to lose more weight. I think that Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian are more attractive than a starved girl from Siberia. Daphne Guinness is naturally tiny and she’s beautiful, but I would never want women to starve themselves to get there.
You have a great story about shooting Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” album cover.
Markus: It actually happened in our old studio on Laguardia, which we also lived in. She didn’t want to wear the top because it looked too prom-y with the long skirts we had, so I suggested jeans but she didn’t have any. I just said, “Well you can wear mine.” I think Indrani kicked me, like, “She wont fit into those jeans,” but they fit her like a glove.
You two are nearly polar opposites. What’s one thing you disagree about most?
Markus: We never really disagree in the end. We are forced to explain to each other why we want something a certain way. That’s a process most photographers don’t have to go through when they work alone. We challenge each other and everything has a purpose. She’s a woman and sees things from a female point of view and I’m a guy and I like to make girls look hot and pretty.
Indrani: We disagree about just about everything. [laughs]
This book and your Lincoln Center exhibition are the culmination of 18 years photographing together and also the beginning of a new chapter for you two. What’s next?
Markus: We’re going in a much more fashion-driven direction. I’m also very interested in Instagram and using the iPhone. Last week we were shooting in a dirty, dusty environment and I randomly decided to use this tiny camera and it was very freeing. I thought, why don’t I do a photoshoot with my new iPhone when it comes?
Indrani: For me this is about an expansion as an artist. I’ve been directing commercials and short films, so our new direction is more of the fine art direction. Today being multimedia is especially important.