Markus Klinko is an award-winning, international fashion/celebrity photographer and director, who has worked with many of today’s most iconic stars of film, music, and fashion.
Klinko has photographed the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell, and Iman. His editorial clients include Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and Interview magazine. Brands such as Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Nike, Hugo Boss, Anna Sui, Pepsi, Skyy Vodka, and Remy Martin have hired Klinko to create advertising campaigns. His campaign for Keep A Child Alive raised over one million dollars for children with AIDS in just 3 days.
Born in Switzerland of French, Italian, Jewish, and Hungarian descent, Klinko spent his early years training to become a classical harp soloist. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. Later, Klinko signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics, as well as a management contract with Columbia Artists Management. He received the Grand Prix de Disque for his recording of French harp music, with members of the orchestra of the Paris Opera Bastille. Klinko performed in recitals and as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras around the world. He was also regularly featured in such publications as Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, GQ, The New York Times, Madame Figaro, Stereo Review, and Ongaku no Tomo.
After a hand injury, Klinko decided to become a fashion photographer and retired from his international concert and recording career. During that time, he met Indrani, who later became a regular collaborator in her role as his studio’s digital post production artist and photo editor. After their separation Markus started to work with Koala under the name Markus & Koala.
Isabella Blow discovered Klinko’s work while at the London Sunday Times and commissioned cover stories from the emerging photographer. Around the same time, Ingrid Sischy, at Interview magazine hired Klinko for various shoots. Iman and David Bowie followed, giving the up and coming photographer a chance to photograph them for their respective book (I am Iman) and album covers (Heathen).
From there, he went on to create some of the most iconic album covers of his time, including Beyonce’s Dangerously in Love, and Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi.
Many of Klinko’s famous celebrity photographs can be seen in his coffee table book ICONS (Perseus). Lincoln Center in New York presented an art exhibit showcasing many prints from the book and since, art galleries and museums in Europe (Opera Gallery, Monaco) and the USA (National Portrait Gallery, Washington) have featured his work.
Klinko has appeared on E! News, Access Hollywood, Fashion Television, CNN’s Showbiz Tonight and Larry King Live and has been the subject of the reality show Double Exposure.
Markus & Koala
With visions of tranquil sights lit with the right pop of saturation, photography duo MARKUS & KOALA make a world of their own.
Creating an entire universe with nothing but their own visual language is what Markus and Koala do best. Dividing their time between Los Angeles and Paris, the New York-based duo is making their mark across the globe, working with publications Harper’s Bazaar China, Schön!, Elle UK, Photo France, Vanity Fair Italy, Vogue Mexico, and Oui Hours. “While our focus is working with fashion and celebrity magazines, we also have our own projects,” explains the duo. “Last year, we had our Art Basel debut in Miami, and we also have a personal art book in the works called Role Model.”
Having a unique approach to vibrance in stills, they compose a steady balance between the glamour of high fashion and the rough edges of youth culture. Honing their individual styles into one identity, they credit their alliance as the key to their aesthetic. “We both have somewhat of an eclectic taste. I’d say that my inspiration comes from the ‘60s to ‘80s era; overall, a glossier, somewhat more classic approach,” says Markus. Sharing a pop of her multimedia art background, Koala continues, “For me, [I’m inspired by] anything that draws me in and evokes emotion. In terms of our combined aesthetic, very different types of people gravitate towards toward our work, which is interesting for us to see.”
Already armed with an impressive roster of subjects such as Lucy Liu, Ciara, and supermodel Iman in only two years, they’ve built a seamless process of shooting. With the help of espresso, a Bluetooth speaker, and Koala’s phone, they aim to create a fun atmosphere. “We always want our subjects and the entire team to have a great time during our shoots, as if it were a fun party,” Markus says. “We like to be prepared and have concepts planned out, but once on set, we always keep an open mind to be spontaneous and quickly capture an unexpected moment.” Finding harmony in both their resonant aesthetic as well as the raw passion they share, the duo admits that it’s a fluid process. “The key is to respect each other and realize that we are stronger as a team,” Koala says. “The challenge to convince each other on how to approach a project forces us to dig deeper.”
What made you decide to pursue fashion photography?
Koala: Fashion has always interested me. I come from a very conservative Chinese family. They were very disapproving of my interests because fashion was viewed as vain or superficial—I think I wanted to be rebellious at the time. These old school views are definitely changing in the East, so I think it’s an exciting time for fashion and the arts in general.
When it comes to working with clients, how does the collaboration work out in terms of having creative freedom?
Markus: Fashion/celebrity photography is almost always based on teamwork. We are equally at ease working with clients or art directors who bring very precise concepts and demands to the projects and with clients who entrust all the creatives in our hands.
Are there any differences in approach when it comes to commercial and high-end fashion photography?
M: One would think so, but in reality, the techniques are often interchangeable. It’s more the intent and the mood or expression of a particular image that brands it more as commercial versus editorial or high fashion.
What quality do you look for in your subjects?
M: Charisma—although it comes in many different forms.
K: I love when someone embraces their individuality or what makes them unique, rather than trying to fit in the mold of what they think society believes is beautiful.
Markus & Indrani
“Rad feminist director” (Jezebel), photographer, branding expert and social justice advocate, Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri is known by the single name Indrani for creating cultural icons and moving millions to action across the film, TV, fashion, and music industries. Her films have won over 25 awards, including two Gold Lions at Cannes Festival of Creativity, Best Picture and Best Director at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, and Best Film at the CNN Expose Awards 2018. Her work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, The Victor & Albert Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Centre Georges Pompidou, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Lincoln Center, The Museum of the Fashion Institute, The Rubin Museum of Art, the Australian Center for the Moving Image, and been featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, V, Vanity Fair and VICE. Known for her collaborative approach, she has worked with artists such as Beyonce, Kate Winslet and David Bowie, and brands from L’Oreal and Nike to Pepsi.
Bravos latest reality show, Double Exposure, goes behind the scenes with Markus Klinko and Indrani, two of the hottest photographers in the industry. Over the years the duo has shot album covers for Beyonc, Mariah Carey, and David Bowie, in addition to shoots with Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, and Kayne West.
Working together to capture these images isn’t always easy for Klinko and Indrani. After all, they were lovers for many years and have tried their best to carve out a civil working relationship that often involves 18-hour days in exotic, highly stressful environments.
Then there are there the rumors. Lately, Indranis personal life has been under more scrutiny than her photographs. Rumors of a steamy relationship with actress Lindsay Lohan have been swirling. Out asked Indrani if there was any truth to this, and you wont believe what she had to say.
Markus Klinko and Indrani—the hottest team in celebrity and fashion photography—have produced album covers for Beyonce, Mariah Carey, and David Bowie, and shot everyone from Lady Gaga to Kate Winslet, Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, and Naomi Campbell. As former stars of the Bravo series Double Exposure and in past lives as a recording artist and top model, respectively, Markus and Indrani have spent most of their lives in front of the cameras, giving them a unique perspective on the realities and fantasies of their celebrated subjects. The result is a collection of powerful, definitive, iconic images of some of the most engaging stars of our time.
As cutting edge as ever seventeen years into their career, with Icons Markus and Indrani showcase their work for the first time in book form. The text, based on interviews with the photographers and many of the stars they’ve shot, describes the uniquely fascinating professional partnership of the former lovers, how they work, and tells stories about the famed subjects of their photography—at turns funny, fascinating, and endearing.
From interview with out.com
Before we go there is one final thing we have to discuss, and its for you Indrani. You probably already know what its about, but we want to know what is going on with you and Lindsay Lohan.
Indrani: I was very excited about shooting Lindsay. Ive said that before, and its grown into a bigger story. I think shes extremely attractive and intelligent. I think she has huge potential. I think shes totally misunderstood. Shes someone I got to know, and I enjoy the time we spend together.
OK, but what is the romantic situation?
Indrani: Theres definitely this [pauses] What can I say? I try to keep my relationships private. Lets leave it at that. Markus made some comment, which I was very upset about because talking about ones private life is generally not a great idea.
Klinko: Let me just jump in. A couple comments I made got a worldwide spin. Suddenly it became a six-month relationship. It is what it is. The media loves to sensationalize.
Indrani: Theres never some smoke without some fire. There are pictures out there of us. We definitely have a lot of things there. Its not the way things are being portrayed. Even my family in India has been questioned about me being a lesbian.
Are you a lesbian?
Indrani: I think everyone is bisexual. Society pushes us in one direction, but we get attracted to different people. I think attraction is constantly changing. I think its one of the beautiful things in life. There are so many possibilities. For me, sexuality is a very raw and powerful thing. It can happen anywhere, and its magic when you do fall in love.
Are you in love with Lindsay?
Indrani: Lindsay is someone I find incredibly special. I tend to gush about her because I do think shes pretty terrific. There are so many more important questions in the world like whats going on with the oil spill or whats going on with our government invading various countries. Yes, its fun, but people want to be distracted.
Markus Klinko works: