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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dirk Franke: The Miami Heat

Dirk Franke stylishly blends beauty, fashion and glamour into a modern exploration of sensuality and classic sex appeal

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dirk franke
Fashion-lifestyle photographer Dirk Franke began his career as a teenager by shooting landscapes, a pastime that he still enjoys today. He even had a brief dalliance with cinematography before becoming a full-fledged portraitist. “After spending some time in the movie industry,” he says, “I realized that this wasn’t for me. Making movies is a long-term business with productions lasting several months. I was young, restless and impatient, and the fact that a Polaroid took only 60 seconds to develop seemed very appealing to me.” Today, Franke has made a career of mixing business with pleasure. His portfolio is quintessential Miami, showcasing the sweltering heat, beautiful women and exotic locations of the Florida urban landscape.
If Helmut Newton had lived in Miami and shot digital, his work would have looked a lot like the stunningly seductive portfolio of Dirk Franke. Based out of Florida, Franke’s world is a place where the exotic meets the erotic. Beautiful women stroll evocatively down city alleys wearing next to nothing. Athletes pose at that decisive moment just before victory, bristling with restrained intensity. Swimsuit models writhe on sun-drenched beaches, and lingerie models wander through backdrops of electric city nightscapes. Franke has made a living by capturing fantasy with his lens.

“I started taking pictures when I was a teenager,” Franke explains about his initial attraction to photography. “There were a lot of landscapes at first, but then puberty set in, and the first girl-friend completely changed my perspective. I was fascinated by the beauty of women. I started shooting lots of portraits and made some first steps with “fashion-like” shots in the following years.

“I have a deep admiration for the beauty of a woman,” he continues. “No matter what the subject of the shot is, I’ll always make sure that the model looks her, or his, very best. Although my clients are mainly concerned about their specific product, they usually appreciate this very much. There was a time several years ago when it was popular to make stunningly beautiful top models look like they’ve been partying nonstop for several days and shoot them in corners of cheap motel rooms. Back then, I just laid low and waited for it to pass. Thank God, it did.”

Lighting For Seduction
Franke is a great fan of Steve Hiett, who used an aggressive approach to strobe lighting, and Franke combines this approach with lots of color, contrast and shadow for a resulting aesthetic that he refers to as “punchy.” The lighting pulls his subjects from their background, adding definition and making them the clear centerpiece to each image.

“In the very beginning of my career,” says Franke about his instantly recognizable style, “I thought that a subject that was that beautiful and fragile needed the softest lighting possible. After a while, I understood that hard light and shadows not only can make a shot so much more interesting in general, but bring out the beautiful lines of a face or a body even more.


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