February 15, 2016 by Laura Gomez


Markus Klinko is an award-winning, international fashion/celebrity photographer and director, who has worked with many of today’s most iconic stars of film, music, and fashion.

Klinko has photographed the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell, and Iman. His editorial clients include Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and Interview magazine. Brands such as Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Nike, Hugo Boss, Anna Sui, Pepsi, Skyy Vodka, and Remy Martin have hired Klinko to create advertising campaigns. His campaign for Keep A Child Alive raised over one million dollars for children with AIDS in just 3 days.

Born in Switzerland of French, Italian, and Hungarian descent, Klinko spent his early years training to become a classical harp soloist. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. Later, Klinko signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics, as well as a management contract with Columbia Artists Management. He received the Grand Prix de Disque for his recording of French harp music, with members of the orchestra of the Paris Opera Bastille. Klinko performed in recitals and as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras around the world. He was also regularly featured in such publications as Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, GQ, The New York Times, Madame Figaro, Stereo Review, and Ongaku no Tomo.

After a hand injury, Klinko decided to become a fashion photographer and retired from his international concert and recording career. During that time, he met Indrani, who later became a regular collaborator in her role as his studio’s digital post production artist and photo editor.

Isabella Blow discovered Klinko‘s work while at the London Sunday Times and commissioned cover stories from the emerging photographer. Around the same time, Ingrid Sischy, at Interview magazine hired Klinko for various shoots. Iman and David Bowie followed, giving the up and coming photographer a chance to photograph them for their respective book (I am Iman) and album covers (Heathen).

From there, he went on to create some of the most iconic album covers of his time, including Beyonce’s Dangerously in Love, and Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi.

Many of Klinko‘s famous celebrity photographs can be seen in his coffee table book ICONS (Perseus). Lincoln Center in New York presented an art exhibit showcasing many prints from the book and since, art galleries and museums in Europe (Opera Gallery, Monaco) and the USA (National Portrait Gallery, Washington) have featured his work.

Klinko has appeared on E! News, Access Hollywood, Fashion Television, CNN’s Showbiz Tonight and Larry King Live and has been the subject of the reality show Double Exposure.

Photo Interview:

Name: Markus Klinko

Birthday: Jan 19th
College: Paris National Conservatory

Favorite Color: all
Favorite Book: Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Favorite Movie: In the Mood for Love

Favorite Food: oatmeal
Favorite Quote: I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. (David Bowie)

For how long have been in photography? over 20 years

How did you start? I started my life as a classical concert harpist, playing concerts around the world and recording for EMI Classics.

In 1994, a hand issue prevented me from continuing my music career, and I decided abruptly to start working as a fashion photographer. I never formally studied photography,
but just started experimenting. Soon after I got a lucky start, and had a chance to shoot some European editorials. Around 2000, Ingrid Sischy from Interview magazine and Isabella Blow
from the London Sunday Times gave me regular assignments that caught the attention of Iman and David Bowie. From there, I went on and started working with a great number
of leading stars in Hollywood, music and fashion.

How would you define yourself as an artist? eclectic

Where do you find inspiration? everywhere around me

Is Brainstorming not the only creative method use to create new concepts?
sometimes a lucky accident can have great results!

Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology?
In the earlier years of my career I was very passionate about the technical aspects, always very concerned about only using the biggest and the best. But now, with the technology so widely available, I am only focused on the creative.

What type of camera do you use most? I love the new Fuji XPro2.

What is your favorite lens? Fuji X series 35mm

What has been your most memorable assignment and why? Right now I would say that some of my session with David Bowie stand out the most. But I really loved working with Gaga, Beyonce and also Anne Hathaway a lot.

What are your favourite three images you have shot recently? among the recent work, Daphne Guinness for Muse magazine perhaps.

How important is an awesome website for your business? the work that is on the website is more important than the website, LOL.

What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have? to never give up!

Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction? My current project because I have just partnered with Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for cancer research, and helping stop cancer is really important to me!

List of your clients? Beyonce, David Bowie, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Lancome, Hugo Boss, Nike, Pepsi, Sony Music….

Who are the photographer’s you admire the most? Love Helmut Newton!

What about architects and designers? Alexander McQueen

What are your next projects? I have partnered with Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for cancer research and Fujifilm for series of exhibitions around the world of my work with David Bowie. The show will open in Miami at the Markowicz Gallery on 2/25, and then in Tokyo in March. Other dates are added as we speak.