In the world of photography, some artists possess the exceptional ability to capture the raw essence and inner beauty of their subjects. One such visionary is Markus Klinko, a renowned fashion and celebrity photographer who has left an indelible mark on the industry with his remarkable talent. Among his numerous extraordinary endeavours, one collaboration stands out as a milestone in his illustrious career - photographing none other than the iconic superstar Beyoncé.
Beyoncé, an unparalleled force in the world of music, is a name that resonates with millions of fans worldwide. Her voice, stage presence, and empowering message have solidified her status as a true pop culture phenomenon. When a talent of such magnitude meets a photographer of Markus Klinko's calibre, it is an artistic collision that ignites sparks of magic.
Markus recalls, "I shot Beyoncé for the first time in 2000 for Vibe magazine when she was part of Destiny's Child. I knew she was a superstar right away. She walked in, and I said to her mother, Tina, who was styling the shoot: "This one in the middle here, she's going to be a huge star." Tina looked at me like: 'Yeah, we know.' After that, things really started taking off with music shoots."
📸 Lights, Camera, Action 🎬: Behind the scenes of Dangerously In Love
"In 2003, Beyoncé asked me to shoot the cover of her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love. She mentioned a campaign I'd done showing Laetitia Casta lying on a diamond-studded spider's web. Beyoncé wanted something similar but smaller. When they arrived for the shoot – and again, her mother was styling her – I pointed at the diamond top as they brought out all the outfits and said: 'That's exactly what we discussed'.
"But Beyoncé was reluctant because her mother had only brought skirts to pair it with, and she felt it would make the look too red carpet. I suggested she pair it with jeans. She liked that idea, but they hadn't brought any. So I gave her mine – on that famous, iconic cover, she is wearing my jeans! People ask if that meant I wasn't wearing any trousers while shooting her, but I was – I had another pair, luckily. A few months later, she returned the jeans. She'd had them cleaned, and they were nicely wrapped with a ribbon.
"In 2003, Beyoncé was not the Beyoncé she is now. She was still a young girl from a group. While she was well-known, she wasn't the biggest pop star in the world. She was friendly and professional on set. She is a hard worker and an intuitive and intelligent model. She knows what to do. The pose on the cover just happened – it was not me directing her. She just snapped into it, and I knew immediately that this was the shot.
"The final image was totally the vision I had for her: this sexy, glossy look that I felt represented her best. I didn't want to do anything low-key or lo-fi with daylight. But that top did not look exactly how it does on the cover: there was a lot of post-production and manipulation. It was much more flimsy than it appears, and it wasn't staying strategically in place – she's not wearing anything other than those strings of diamonds, so she was pretty much topless on set. Later, in post-production, everything was perfected and arranged to make sure nothing shows.
"There's a magic on set that either happens or it doesn't. I think it has a lot to do with the connection between the subject and the photographer. It's not about being best friends: it's about an energy that has to be there. With Beyoncé, that energy seemed to naturally happen.
"For me, the photo shoot projected who Beyoncé was about to become. She wasn't quite the person the images represented, but within a couple of years, she had become that iconic, undeniable superstar. The photo shoot created a road map to where she was headed." ~ Markus Klinko
Want to learn more?
‘Beyoncé is wearing my jeans!’ Markus Klinko’s best shot, The Guardian, 2023
QUEEN BEY I photographed Beyonce – a pair of jeans she wore for our shoot 20 years ago is now worth more than $100k, The Sun US, 2023
"Mega-celebrity photographer of Beyoncé's all-time favorite portrait holds court in Houston to honor Queen Bey", Steven Devadanam, Culture Map, 2023