Hazine

22.08.2016 - Estelle Marandon

Photographer

Flashy Photographers

MERT ALAS AND MARCUS PIGGOTT ARE AMONG THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS. TOP EDITORS AND STYLISTS, FASHION DESIGNERS AND EVEN GLOBAL CELEBRITIES QUEUE UP FOR THEIR DIGITALLY ENHANCED IMAGES.

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, better known as Mert & Marcus, are among the most successful fashion photographers of the last two decades. The editors of Dazed & Confused were captivated by the hyper-real, highly-polished and intense aesthetics of the duos first photos in the late 90s. By pure chance, a couple of the pair's test shots fell into the hands of the London-based magazine, and immediately made the front cover. Things moved very quickly after that, with commissions following from Visionaire, Numéro and Vogue. Their work came to the attention of Marc Jacobs, who engaged them on the spot to photograph major campaigns for Louis Vuitton.

Since then, the duo has worked with all the big names – Fendi, Gucci, Missoni, Versace, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent... The list of global celebrities who regularly pose in front of their camera is also endless. Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson – they are all quick to accept an invitation to do a shoot if Alas and Piggott are behind the camera. Because their portraits always make their subjects look their best. It is no wonder, then, that even Madonna, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell undressed in front the camera for them. 

OTHER PLANS

However, neither of them originally set out to be a fashion photographer. In their early twenties, the two young men were mainly interested in London's nightlife and happily partied into the early hours of the morning. They met by chance at a party in Hastings in 1994, and it was love at first sight. They have been inseparable ever since. They moved into a derelict loft in East London and turned it into a studio. At that point, Mert had never even held a camera. He had previously studied classical music in his native Turkey. Marcus had been working as a photography assistant, but had no experience in fashion photography. But the two had one vision. "We liked the same artists, the same movies. We both had a similar dark side and similar romance and madness to our ideas," Mert Alas told Interview magazine. On one occasion, they ended up pulling the glass out of their oven, to shoot some photos through it, and it was this unusual technique that landed them their first commissions.

The particular aesthetics of Mert & Marcus really captured the spirit of the time and they went from obscurity to fame almost overnight. Their images are often imitated – a testament to their success – and have been a source of inspiration for fashion photography in recent years.

Short Facts

Trademark

Mert & Marcus are famous for manipulating their images. Heavy editing and other post-production techniques produce a deliberately artificial and exaggeratedly perfect look.

Distinctiveness

In addition to the digitally-enhanced, highly-polished aesthetics, another characteristic of their images is that they depict a certain type of woman – one that demonstrates strength, sexuality and self-assurance.

Anecdote

For several years, Mert and Marcus had to shoot in the studio because Turkish-born Mert did not have a visa. If he had left the country for a shoot, he probably would not have been allowed back in. It was only once the gay couple formalised their union with a civil partnership, which was recognised by the British authorities, that Mert was able to get a residence permit.

Dsquared SS16 Campaign

TIMELINE

1971 Britain / Turkey

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott are both born in 1971 – Mert in Istanbul and Marcus in Wales.

1994 Office romance

Mert and Marcus's paths cross in London. Mert has just completed his music studies, Marcus is working as a photography assistant. It is love at first sight and the pair have been living and working together ever since.

1998 Photography career launches

The magazine Dazed & Confused puts one of their photos on its cover. This leads to more commissions for magazines Visionaire and Numéro.

2002 Darlings of the designers

They catch the attention of Marc Jacobs. He hires them for their first Louis Vuitton advertising campaign. Further commissions for Missoni and Hugo Boss follow.

2006 Pirelli

Mert & Marcus shoot the legendary Pirelli calendar.

2012 Mert & Marcus & Madonna

The duo directs the video for Madonna's song Girl Gone Wild

2014 En Vogue

Cover shoot with Natalia Vodianova for the September issue of French Vogue. It brings the total number of Mert & Marcus covers for the Parisian fashion magazine to 24 since the pair first started collaborating with the publication in 2008.

2016 - Dsquared2

Mert & Marcus lense the label's Spring/Summer 2016 campaign.

Photo:

©Bfanyc

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