Left: Britney, Mystic Lounge No. 1, 2004; Right: Britney, Mystic Lounge No. 2, 2004
Markus Klinko is a fashion and celebrity photographer known for his high-profile celebrity shoots. In 2004, he photographed pop superstar Britney Spears. Markus' photos immortalised her as the stunning force of nature that she has become. In these shots, she is a goddess, a beautiful creature out of mythology.
“Britney would be the hottest woman I have ever photographed, she was super sexy. At the time, she was just unbelievable – so natural and so sweet.” ~ Markus Klinko
The photo session with Britney was for a campaign to promote her Onyx Hotel Tour, in conjunction with the release of the pop star's album In The Zone. The Onyx Hotel Tour was the fifth concert tour by the American entertainer. The tour was divided into seven segments: 'Check-In', 'Mystic Lounge', 'Mystic Garden', 'The Onyx Zone', 'Security Cameras', 'Club' and the 'Encore'. 'Check-In' displayed performances with dance and advanced in the hotel theme. 'Mystic Lounge' featured an homage to Cabaret and other musicals, while remixing some of Britney's early hits. 'Mystic Garden' displayed a jungle-inspired stage. 'The Onyx Zone' displayed a ballad performance with acrobats. 'Security Cameras' was the raciest part of the show, with Britney and her dancers emulating different sexual practices. 'Club' displayed a performance with urban influences. The 'Encore' consisted of a system malfunction interlude with Britney performing in a red ensemble. Images from the photoshoot with Markus were used in the Concert Tour Programme.
Britney had clear ideas of what she wanted - a dark, magical world with inspirations including enchanted gardens, jazz clubs, ice castles and haunted bedrooms. “Britney was just so personable and she had a lot of the ideas for the images. It was one of the loveliest experiences,” commented Markus.
At the time, Britney sought a break from her good-girl image. Markus' photos of the star immortalised her as the stunning force of nature that she has become. In these shots, she is a goddess, a beautiful creature out of mythology.
The shoot was incredibly successful. Markus' images were used to promote The Onyx Hotel Tour and on Britney's album cover for the universally acclaimed song 'Everytime'.
Images from the shoot were later used for numerous magazine covers, such as Vanity Fair. Beauty giant Elizabeth Arden also licensed pictures and used them to advertise two of Britney's fragrances - 'Fantasy' and 'Midnight Fantasy'.
It was the highest-grossing merchandising campaign for a female pop star at the time - and one of Markus' most successful shoots.
“Britney would be the hottest woman I have ever photographed, she was super sexy. At the time, she was just unbelievable – so natural and so sweet.” - Markus Klinko
Welcome To The Onyx Hotel
Opening Scene [Music Video}, "Everything" by Britney Spears, 2004
Deep within us exists an extraordinary world. A world when something else is possible. A world called ‘Onyx’.
It belongs to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we’d lost long ago. Here, anything is possible.
An onyx, by definition, is a gemstone that has alternating parallel layers of different colours. The onyx within ourselves lies torment until we call it, waiting to explode a fantastical world in front of our eyes, reminding us of the different layers life has to offer. In this case, it has chosen a home.
Welcome to the Onyx Hotel.
~ The Onyx Hotel, Concert Tour Programme ~
Once You Check In, You Can't Check Out!
Narrator, The Onyx Hotel Tour, Miami 2004
Hey there! Why so glum chum? Is life getting ya down? Aw… don’t do that. We don’t like it when you do that. How about you and I have a little chat? There, much better. Now I can see you and you can see me. Yippee!
I know a place where you’ll be free from your woes. Where fun filled fantasies keep you on your toes. Where worry and regret are things you forget and all your darkest secrets show. Put your plans aside, let The Onyx be your guide. You’ll dive into imagination, your body will be privy to many a titillation. This is an experience only a few are privileged to tell. So come inside. I welcome you to The Onyx Hotel!
Once you check in, you can’t check out!
~ Check-In [opening monologue], The Onyx Hotel Tour, Miami 2004 ~
The Onyx Hotel, Concert Tour Programme
Left: Front & Back Covers, Right: Pages 1 & 2; Source: Britney Spears Media
Left: Pages 3 & 4, Right: Pages 5 & 6; Source: Britney Spears Media
Left: Pages 7 & 8, Right: Pages 9 & 10; Source: Britney Spears Media
Left: Pages 11 & 12, Right: 13 & 14; Source: Britney Spears Media
Left: Pages 15 & 16, Right: 17 & 18; Source: Britney Spears Media
Left: Pages 19 & 20, Right: Pages 21 & 22; Source: Britney Spears Media
Left: Pages 23 & 24, Right: Pages 25 & 26; Source: Britney Spears Media
Britney, In The Zone
Britney, The Forest, 2004
Britney, Mystic Lounge No. 1, 2004
Britney, Mystic Lounge No. 2, 2004
Britney, The Garden, 2004
Britney, Forest Dance, 2004
Britney, Everytime, 2004
Britney, Dreams, 2004
Britney, Ice, 2004
Britney, Innocent, 2004
Britney, A Piece Of Me, 2004
Britney, Morning After, 2004
Britney, Midnight Fantasy, 2004
About Markus Klinko
Markus Klinko is an award-winning international fashion/celebrity photographer and director who has worked with many of today's most iconic film, music, and fashion stars. Markus has photographed the likes of Beyoncé, 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 Markus to create advertising campaigns.
Born in Switzerland of French, Italian, Jewish, and Hungarian descent, Markus spent his early years training to become a classical harp soloist. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris.
Later, Markus signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics and a management contract with Columbia Artists Management. He received the Grand Prix de Disque for his recording of French harp music with the orchestra of the Paris Opera Bastille. Markus also performed in recitals and as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras around the world. He was also regularly featured in Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, GQ, The New Yor Times, Madame Figaro, Stereo Review and Ongaku no Tomo.
After a hand injury, Markus became a fashion photographer and retired from his international concert and recording career.
Isabella Blow discovered Markus' work at the London Sunday Times and commissioned cover stories from the emerging photographer. Around the same time, Ingrid Sischy at Interview magazine hired Markus 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 created some of the most iconic album covers of our time, including Beyonce's "Dangerously in Love" and Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi".
Markus Klinko: Award-winning international fashion / celebrity photographer