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 isnt always easy for Klinko and Indrani. After all, they were lovers for eight 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.
During our discussion, stylist and Double Exposure costar GK Reid also stopped by. The three of them told us what it was like working with Lady Gaga, if Naomi Campbell is as scary as people say, and offered advice on how to craft your own image.
Out: How did Double Exposure come about?
Indrani: For many years people said we should have our own reality show. Were very open. We try not to be too caught up in creating an image for ourselves. We like to laugh at ourselves and bringing the audience behind the scenes with us is an art project from our perspective.
How would you describe the show?
Markus Klinko: I think this show is actually very funny. What makes it almost a comedy is the fact that were so passionate about what were doing the moment were doing it. We sometimes get excited about small things. I read a review where somebody criticized the fact that it was funny. Its television -- of course it has to be funny. Were trying to demystify the process. This is not brain surgery. Its something were proud of, but the technical aspects around photography are not as difficult as people would like to pretend when theyre in the business. Its about creating the concept and the ideas.
Indrani: What we do is make the world a more beautiful place. Thats our goal. We want to make beautiful images. We want to entertain people with our work. This show is really an extension of that. We want to show people that if youre passionate about something, you can achieve the goals you dream up. Although its not brain surgery, its almost impossible to create an iconic image thats going to define someone for the rest of time.
When you do album covers for artists, what is your process? Do you listen to the music on that album first to get an idea of the message you want your photographs to send?
Indrani: This is an area that I really spend a lot of time in. Its really about getting to know the artists. Sometimes we have the good fortune to spend time with them before the shoot. With Mariah we had a couple of days. We talked and brainstormed ideas. It was a real collaborative process. With other artists, they just show up on the set and weve only talked to their managers. We always do a lot of research of where they are coming from and who they want to become. Creating images is very much about creating ones future. The images live on. For example, when we shot Beyoncs Dangerously in Love album, that was her solo debut. So, it was so important to cast her in the right light for who she was becoming.
Markus, you recently said that Lady Gaga was the most exciting photo shoot you did in 15 years. Why?
Klinko: I need to explain this statement. Weve done so many incredibly exciting shoots and when you have experiences with people like Beyonc or Kate Winslet, its pretty much impossible to really pick one that is the most exciting. From the perspective of now, this moment, Lady Gaga is the most exciting because of her status in the music and fashion world.
Indrani: For me, what was exciting on that shoot was that she was really completely open to our ideas. She pushed us to go even further. Thats pretty unprecedented. Most artists you work with have very strong visions of what they want to do. She is not caught up in the conventional idea of beauty.
GK Reid: She was very open to the fashion I brought to the shoot, too. It was a collaborative process. It was so wonderful to be tapped into that moment together.
Where do you see Lady Gagas career heading? Will she have some legs in the business or is she a passing fancy?
Reid: I think shes got a lot of evolving to do. Shes going to continue to grow. I dont think shes going to always be as outrageous as she is now.
Indrani: I think she is a genius. She doesnt let a set of standards define her. She creates her own, and I think other artists are struggling to keep up with her.
What was it like working with Naomi Campbell?
Indrani: Shes pretty terrifying.
Were you nervous every time she took out her cell phone?
Klinko: This was actually an interesting experience because we were all really excited to work with her and obviously everyone had read the stories. Its a challenge photographing someone who has been photographed for the last 20 years by the best of the very best. What happens a lot of times, people we work with gravitate to one of us, and oftentimes its to Indrani because she is cute and sweet, and Im a little more obnoxious. In this particular case with Naomi, she was very sweet with me and listened to everything I said, but there was an electrical energy with her and Indrani that didnt quite gel.
Indrani: I was quite terrified. Shes a very powerful person. It was just tense for me.
Lets go back to the beginning. How did you two meet?
Indrani: I started modeling when I was 14. I was really drawn to fashion images. When youre 14 and a nerdy school girl, its very hard to learn about photography. Fortunately I was able to become a model and be in the center of the creative process. I got to learn from the inside out. When I met Markus I had been doing my own photography for years, but I never had the confidence to pursue it as a career. My family was very traditional, and they wanted me to be a politician or a lawyer.
And then you studied anthropology at Princeton.
Indrani: I did. That was actually after I met Markus. I met Markus on a casting and immediately we started working together. Right after we began working together I got accepted into Princeton, but kept doing photography with Markus. I had this dual life for four years.
Eventually the working relationship turned romantic, but was it actually love at first sight?
Klinko: Id say so.
Indrani: I actually went to my friends and told them that I met someone that I thought would always be my best friend. It was weird because he was twice my age.
Klinko: Lets not exaggerate. I am not twice your age. Im 13 years older.
Markus, you started off as a classical musician, and then in 1994 you discovered your passion for taking photos. How did that come about?
Klinko: I was a classical concert harpist. My father was a symphony musician, so I discovered music very early on in life. I was 3 when I started piano lessons. I gave my first concert when I was about 10. I had always loved photography. I looked at photo magazines, but I never took pictures. I was in front of the camera quite often as a musician for album covers and articles. Then about 16 years ago I had this sudden injury to my hand, which today remains unclear as to what it was.
Indrani: It was psychosomatic.
Klinko: No it wasnt. But to make a long story short, it prohibited me to continue my career, which at that time was at its height. I had a contract with EMI/Virgin and was touring the world. I made a quick, snap decision where to said to myself and managers, I want to become a photographer. I never went to school. I just bought a book and started experimenting. Then I met Indrani on the very first casting that I put together for a portfolio. She became my creative partner, my boss, and my lover for eight years.
Indrani: The reason I said Markuss injury was psychosomatic is because he had wanted to do so much more, and until he couldnt play the harp anymore, I think doing something else was impossible for him. He sold all his harps and bought all this lighting and camera equipment that he didnt know how to use.
Indrani, you have a book coming out this fall called Image Craft. Its about re-creating yourself and developing an image. How can the noncelebrity out there create an image?
Indrani: In our society it is extremely important for everyone to create their own image. Noncelebrities just as much. Everything now is so image-based. Its virtual. Your Facebook. Your LinkedIn. Those are things potential employers are going to look at before they even meet you. Thats become standard now. There are a lot of people who havent put the thought into sculpting an image. Also, when you meet people in person, the way you dress, the way you talk and your body language conveys so much about you. A lot of people dont put the effort in making sure those things correspond with who they really are.
Is there anyone youd still like to work with?
Klinko: Madonna is the first that comes to mind. We would love to work with the Obamas. Taking a presidential power picture is definitely on the top of our list.
Indrani: For me its Brad and Angelina. Id love to shoot them together. Id like to do some extremely sexy images.
Reid: Id like to work with Charlize Theron and Megan Fox. Id also love to work with Oprah.
Youve described your images as your children and because of that its hard to pick one thats your favorite. However, is there one that youre really proud of?
Indrani: For me its the pictures we took of my school [SEE School] in India. They are the closest to my heart. The final episode of the show we go to India. Its extremely moving.
Reid: I loved Iman.
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.
Double Exposure airs Tuesdays at 11 p.m. EST on Bravo. An episode featuring a photo shoot with Out magazine will air on June 29. For more information, visit the show's official website.