Markus Klinko and Indrani have created absolutely iconic portraiture of everyone from Beyoncé to Lindsay Lohan to Lady Gaga. This last November saw the release of their very first published book of photography, Icons: The Celebrity Exposures of Markus and Indrani, and since then the two have been engrossed with several commercial campaigns while also fitting in high-profile gallery openings to celebrate the new book alongside their historic body of work at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York and the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles. Speaking about the new book, their extended history and a new direction for the team, Klinko talked with DPP briefly on the growth the two are seeing as artists even after nearly 20 years of working together.
What’s fun and what makes me proud," finishes Klinko in reference to the engagingly intimate portrait of Olivia Wilde that graces this issue’s cover, "is that some of the work that we’re doing right now is actually better, more intense and more beautiful than when we worked with those gigantic budgets, when things were done in a different spirit.
"We’ve embarked into a new era where Indrani is quite busy directing music videos, commercials and short fashion films," Klinko explains. "The idea isn’t that we’re working separately. It’s more that we have our own independent area. She’s more fascinated with developing the film and video side of our operation, while I’m more involved in preparing, planning and negotiating still shoots.
"I’m still really passionate about still photography," he continues, "and I’ve remained extremely passionate from day one. The experience that I’ve had with working with Indrani on films actually confirms that I’m less interested in that part. It’s something that she’s really happy to do, and she does it beautifully, and I’m very proud of her."
This last August, Indrani’s short film Legend of Lady Whitesnake snagged her four awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Fashion and Best Special Effects at the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival. Klinko says that he has found himself shooting portraits between Indrani’s takes on a set—he actually has had to carve out space between Indrani’s RED digital cinema system and a crane hovering over his head!
But he also laughs that adapting to the new workflows has been a lot more organic than they expected. The two are facing an uncertain economy and a shake-up to business paradigms just like the rest of the industry, but one of their many strengths is that they’re inseparable as a team, with many of one’s talents complementing the other’s. Now they’re bicoastal, as well. Klinko recently relocated to Los Angeles to more closely follow their celebrity work while Indrani elected to remain behind in New York (at least for the time being). He laughs that they still talk to each other roughly 50 times a day.
"Our earliest shoots from maybe 13 years ago were technically the most complicated," Klinko admits, noting that they also have been working to relax the celebrated big-budget, high-pressure production environments synonymous with the Markus + Indrani brand.
"We’ve learned to really focus on the result and not so much on the production," he says, pointing out that the Double Exposure reality series that centered on the two in 2010 inspired a great deal of self-reflection. "What’s fun and what makes me proud," finishes Klinko in reference to the engagingly intimate portrait of Olivia Wilde that graces this issue’s cover, "is that some of the work that we’re doing right now is actually better, more intense and more beautiful than when we worked with those gigantic budgets, when things were done in a different spirit. It’s more about the art and doing the best work possible."