Michael discusses some of his favourite works, curated from W Magazine (Part 2)
Dance Fever, February 2004
"That sweat was not put on there, that sweat is being created. It’s like sports photography where I’m just there recording, letting them go through their movements. And the whole trick with this is not setting up the image, [but] creating a space and allowing them to move within that space. At the beginning, it runs slow, but you just do it and move, move, move to the point where I’m shouting out directions with the choreographer. Somebody like Erin Wasson; there’s always a catalyst [on set] for everyone else and she’s one of them. Erin doesn’t hold back at all when she’s modeling. Let’s just say the other people weren’t into it, so [when] you see her, kicking it out, and you’re going, ‘I gotta keep up with that!’"
La Plage, March 2006
"This kind of Katherine Hepburn, strong woman [was the inspiration], but with a modern twist. I don’t think Katherine would be doing this particular image. This strong woman, you don’t really know who she is, but she’s ballsy enough to take her shirt off on the boat. Obviously, Daria [Werbowy] was amazing. You know when you photograph a face like that, you’re done."
Czech Mate, October 2006
"This started out with me saying, ‘I always wanted to go to the Czech Republic,’ and then everything revolved around that. With Karl Templer, who’s an amazing stylist, we created this art student scenario. I tried to use a lot of the natural beautiful light that came in through the windows. I don’t think I did any flash. And with all those models [featured in this spread], they don’t look like your traditional Christie Brinkley models; [they are] very, very oddly beautiful people."
Ile de la Mode, March 2007
"Gisele [Bundchen] was right next to us shooting [in St. Barts] for, I think, Victoria’s Secret. We were laughing because we were shooting this strange woman on the beach walking with bright red lips and then you have Gisele in a bikini throwing her hair back. It was funny because you look at Gisele and that’s what people think is beach photography, but we were shooting this person fully dressed, not in this particular shot, with a trench coat, hat, and sunglasses walking down the beach."
Champion, August 2008
"I knew [Christy Turlington] when I was an assistant with Irving Penn. Thirty years ago, she was probably 18 years old, [Penn and I] went to Paris for the couture collections for U.S. Vogue. Christy, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, all the supermodels were there and she was the sweetest person to everyone, including me. She has that timeless face, where it’s this kind of exotic blend of features; like you don’t know what country she’s from. She also understands photography because she’s been doing this since she was 14 years old. It was shot in a studio, but the light I used was sunlight.”
A Modest Proposal, October 2012
"It’s obviously based off of August Sander’s work. A lot of his images were taken [using] a large format camera photographing in [a] traditional portraiture style in a rural setting. I’ve always loved his work, but now, the clothing here has lent itself perfectly to this kind of imagery. We went out to an old farm in southern Washington, and just set up camp there. Of course, model selection was key; with strangely beautiful, like you don’t know if they’re part of a religious group."
Model Mania, November 2012
"This was the first time I worked with Karlie [Kloss]. She just has this great personality and here she looks like a twenties flapper. When a girl goes into hair and makeup, I’m photographing somebody else. I like to shoot [these groups of young models] fast because they find [their zone] and they give their energy in this little window of time, say, ten minutes to, at maximum, 30 minutes. They know they have one image to do and they’re going to give everything they have into that image. And as we’re doing the images, it’s going up on the wall, so there’s almost sort of fun competition about, ‘Ooh, so-and-so did that?!’"
The man himself: