Michael discusses some of his favourite works, curated from W Magazine
I, Claudia, June 1998
"Claudia [Schiffer] is known as a ‘Va-Va-Voom’ kind of model and here we sort of broke her down. I think it’s death when people know what you’re going to do next. It’s always good, as an artist, to second-guess or do something a little different you haven’t done before. These images were based off of Man Ray."
Grand Illusions, September 2000
"It’s always a little harder [shooting multiple subjects] because what looks natural? So you have to set the stage a little bit. Usually, I set my frame in the situation of what’s the best angle and then compose people within that. [I used a] 16mm lens because the place was so tiny. This whole story took place in Paris, where we went all over town. I got to see places you don’t really get access to, like the Pompidou Centre and the Notre Dame belltower. This one in particular is in the Moulin Rouge. Kate [Moss]’s looking in the mirror in the dressing room with actual Moulin Rouge dancers in the background getting ready."
Making a Splash, January 2001
"Hannelore [Knut]’s one of my favorite models. She’s not a ‘fashion-y’ person; I can say, ‘Go lay in the water.’ It was one of those moments that wasn’t planned or anything, I just liked the way it looked surreal, angelic, and it kind of looks like she’s dead."
Fashion Crusade, July 2001
"[The shoot] was a little more pushed, in terms of the makeup and hair, almost like barbarians, in the sense of these coats and swords [that were used for the images]. The prop stylist, who I still work with today, Tom Bell, just brought in these amazing bones, swords, and composed something that was symmetrical. With this particular story, it was fun to play with the gel lights and colors. When you’re mixing light sources like that, all of a sudden things that you can’t plan for happen and it went well with the whole story. You were basically painting with light."
Black Widow, September 2002
"[Jessica Miller] embodies this slightly crazy heiress and maybe she’s supposed to be doing certain things when you’re getting money, but she’s not. She’s putting on her mother’s old clothes and playing dress-up. It was like this eclectic, beautiful yet weird image. That’s what kind of great about fashion; you don’t need a rhyme or reason.You can create a mood or it’s all about, ‘You’re not supposed to do that there, so let’s do it!’"
Mod Times, January 2003
"What’s great about working with actors [is that] once you give them that role, they can step into it. Obviously, [this was] inspired by the sixties, but also by Selma [Blair], as a person. The makeup artist was Dick Page and we basically felt she had this Twiggy-ish look, so we went to town on the makeup and hair. In this particular case, there’s actually no fashion in this image and rarely do you see an image like that [used as a fashion magazine cover] ."
Snap, Crackle & Pop, June 2003
"We were in a fantastic mansion in the Upper East Side where a friend of Dennis Friedman collected a lot of the famous images of the Pop Art days. Every room was like a set designer went in and designed it. You were transported to those days [of Pop Art] — the wild white angles, the crazy poses of the models, the very two-dimensional flat imagery of the day. This was shot using a wide-angle lens. There’s a couple of images [from this spread] where I took a magic marker and colored it; put red slashes on [the model’s] mouths, kind of outline things. It was like, ‘Just give me a stack of felt markers and just let me go to it.’"