Hazine

19.04.2015 - Kirsty Reid

Photographer

Double Dutch

FROM THE QUAINT STREETS OF AMSTERDAM TO THE COMMERCIAL HUB OF NEW YORK CITY, INEZ VAN LAMSWEERDE AND VINOODH MATADIN HAVE BECOME ONE OF THE INDUSTRY’S MOST SOUGHT AFTER PHOTOGRAPHERS. LENDING THEIR CREATIVE EYE AND UNIQUE AESTHETIC, THE DUTCH DUO HAVE SEEN THEIR WORK PRODUCED IN SOME OF THE WORLD’S LEADING PUBLICATIONS.

Inez and Vinoodh’s photographs are famed for their off-beat style and ultra-sharp approach. The couple uses a sophisticated combination of beauty and horror, which from the beginning, allowed their reputation in both the art world and the fashion community to flourish.

IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS FASHION DESIGN

Inez and Vinoodh initially both had a passion for design; separately they were fashion design students at the Fashion Academy, Amsterdam, where they met during the early 1980’s. Following this, Inez broke away from the design aspect by taking up a Masters Degree in Photography at Gerrit Rietveld Academie, whilst Vinoodh embarked on a venture to launch clothing label Lawina.

During Inez’s time at Gerrit Rietveld, she was commissioned to photograph the Lawina collection. Vinoodh enjoyed working with her and took her on as a stylist. Sharing the same creative aesthetic, Inez and Vinoodh fell in love and continued their career paths as a couple. The Lawina label closed in 1990 and the pair began practicing ensemble, solely as artists. Following Inez’s year long residency at PS1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York in 1992, she began experimenting with digital software. At this time, a niche way of working and an innovative approach to photography.

FLOURISHING NOTORIETY

The duo’s reputation began to grow in Amsterdam, mostly thanks to their contributions in the Dutch style magazine BLVD. In 1994 one of these pieces retitled  “For Your Pleasure” was reproduced for British style magazine The Face, bringing charisma to their unsettling tones and unequivocally marking fashion the substance of their work.  Commissions from elite magazines and designers grew after the pair collaborated with Belgium designer Veronique Leroy. Together they created a visual feast of predacious figures in titillating arrangements, imposed on hyperreal backdrops. The scene pre-empted the end of the latest fad for documentary style photography and catapulted their career to the top of the fashion industry.

MOVING TO THE BIG APPLE

Inez and Vinoodh moved permanently to New York City in 1995 to deal with the demand from the industry. Their easily recognizable style and diverse thinking has allowed for versatility in subjects and publications, whilst keeping their satirical and transcendent aura prominent. Today their work runs the gauntlet from portrait sittings to conceptual tableaux with an extensive list of luxury fashion magazines and fashion houses, featuring A-list celebrities such as George Clooney, Javier Bardem and Julianne Moore.

The duo has maintained a productive solo art career alongside their fashion ventures since graduation, most notably the “Me Kissing Vinoodh” trilogy. The sequence began in 1999 with “Lovingly” depicting the pair in an embrace, contrasting against the second entitled “Passionately” where Vinoodh is digitally erased from the shot. The final part of the sequence depicts Inez covered in red paint, symbolizing the removal of her skin, in contrast to the clothed Vinoodh. This image was reproduced as a screen print in collaboration with Eugene Licht and titled 'Eternally'.

RECENT ACCLAMATION

Throughout their career, Inez and Vinoodh have worked with motion image. In 2000, they shot a CD cover for Björk, which quickly led to directing her music video for Hidden Place in 2001. Most recently, the pair have directed Lady Gaga’s single ‘Applause’.
At present Inez and Vinoodh have been focusing on retrospectives. In particular ‘Pretty Much Everything’ is a collection of 300 pieces ranging from 1985 through to 2010 to celebrate their 25 years’ work. The exhibition was held in Amsterdam’s FOAM Fotographie museum. They currently live in New York City with their son Charles.

Short Facts

Trademark

The duo’s work is playful and fluid with movement and action. The abstract nature of the photographs is what allows them to be viewed with mesmerizing unease.

Distinctiveness

Unique to Inez and Vinoodh, their photographs often have a macabre undertone, and endeavor to depict irony. The work they produce balances the scales of beauty and barbarity.

Anecdote

Prestigious Pirelli Calendar commissioned the pair as guest photographers in 2007. The scene consisted of a private bedroom suite featuring Sofia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Naomi Watts, Hilary Swank and Lou Doillon. The monochrome photographs that were produced were dubbed the most powerful shots in the calendars history.

Awards

1992 Art Directors Club for Germany, Award for Outstanding Performance in the area of Photography
1999 Maria Austria Award for Photography, Amsterdam foundation for the Arts
1998 The Society of Publication, Merit Award for Fashion Photography, Beauty, Still Life and Interiors in The New York Times Magazine

 

TIMELINE

1980’s - Background

Inez Van Lamsweerde born 1963 and Vinoodh Matadin born 1961, both attend university in their hometown in Amsterdam studying Fashion Design at the Fashion Academy.

1991 - Post Graduation Work

During a few experimental years, the pair have developed a unique and unusual tone to their work. It is both shocking and alluring at the same time and they intrigue the fashion industry.

1994 - Breaking Europe and America

Their reputation is burgeoning in Amsterdam and British magazine The Face has picked up one of their pieces. The collaboration with Leroy has soared their status as fashion photographers and they pick up their first advertising campaigns with Hervé Léger and Vivienne Westwood.

1995 - Consumer Demand

Demand for the duo’s attention is high and so a move to New York is made to be closer to contacts and the industry centre. Their career continues to flourish as the luxury market absorbs their concept.

2011 - The Future in Monograph

The pair have moved on to produce their first monograph in two volumes. The summer tour starts in 2011 in Brasil and contains 333 pages. Enclosed also, is a mini book of essays and song lyrics from singers and composers such as Björk, Lady Gaga, Antony Hegarty and Penny Martin. The books intention is to celebrate the expansive body of work the duo has produced and to display their influence in fashion and art culture.

Photo:

© Getty Images, Instagram

Sources:

www.inezandvinoodh.com, www.showstudio.com, www.businessoffashion.com

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