At the end of October, Markus Klinko and Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri’s very first book of images will be published. Icons: The Celebrity Exposures of Markus and Indrani (Running Press) is a watershed moment for photography’s number-one power couple, illustrating in many ways how they have matured alongside digital photography over the last 17 years they have spent together as the illustrious team. The title is a bit of a double entendre, as well, because the two are perhaps the most famous working couple in all of photography, even finding themselves in front of the camera in 2010 when Bravo centered a six-episode series called Double Exposure on the duo and the background histrionics of putting together high-profile, big-budget shoots for A-list guest stars like Lady Gaga and Lindsay Lohan. This isn’t the first time the two have had a taste of celebrity—Klinko first started as a world-class harpist while Indrani started life in photography as a model—but it’s fortuitous timing as the Bravo series is bringing them quite a bit of mainstream attention while the Icons book also sums up a large chapter of their prodigious history.
The last time DPP spoke with MARKUS + INDRANI was in regard to the cover of the November 2011 issue, a dreamlike portrait of ingénue actress Anne Hathaway. During our discussion on the process behind the creation of the image, the two often spoke like fraternal twins, completing each other’s sentences while at the same time offering almost completely opposite opinions on many of the topics that we discussed.
It’s this cognitive dissonance that exists between the two and their famously aggressive "point-counterpoint" collaborative approach to image-making that helps them to refine their images on set while also being able to engage high-profile egos behind the scenes. Sometimes these discussions can become heated, not unexpectedly for a professional couple who were linked romantically for eight of their 17 years together.
But the two even now refer to themselves as best friends, and what’s more, photographers who are as smart and successful as MARKUS + INDRANI (Indrani is a magna cum laude graduate from Princeton) are quite capable of learning from their mistakes, including a very public bankruptcy that was finalized in late 2010. A full production with MARKUS + INDRANI can cost clients hundreds of thousands of dollars, and thanks largely to an arena of dwindling income and exponentially exploding competition, the two had to retire their eight-year-old Soho shooting loft last year while taking a massively introspective look at how they work as a team. Take, for example, a scene in Double Exposure where Klinko uses a laser pointer to measure his hotel room. This, he explains to the camera, is to prove to Indrani that she has the larger room during their travels. "I’m sort of surprised," laughs Klinko, "that during the Bravo show we actually produced some of our very best work. I think that the adrenaline of making a TV show might have contributed to that."
I’m sort of surprised," laughs Klinko, "that during the Bravo show we actually produced some of our very best work. I think that the adrenaline of making a TV show might have contributed to that.
Indrani handles the majority of the business and oversight aspects behind the team, and she’s characteristically optimistic about the experience of Double Exposure, though she also admits that it was a learning process.